Thursday, August 06, 2009

Goobi waakh ka icho arga...

The “dark nights” in Korr are just that. For about half the month, the moon rises so late (or rather, so early in the morning) that none of its light illuminates the darkness. It is DARK - so much more than many of us have ever experienced. Your torch barely pierces a hole in the night big enough for you to see your next three steps. It is so incredibly pitch black, but for the millions of stars visible above you.

The “light nights,” in contrast, are so welcome, where there are no street lamps or even light from people’s houses after dark. During the light nights, you see your own shadow almost as clearly as you would on a blazing desert afternoon.

I watched the full moon rise tonight. It was huge and nearly orange as it rose over the hill – a beautiful sight for my last night in the desert.

What’s that? My LAST NIGHT?!?!

My departure came rather suddenly – in one sense because I can’t believe that time has gone so fast, but also in another, more tangible way. My flight bookings have been all over the place, and as I got mentally ready to leave on August 7th, it then, due to a plane crash with AIM Air and all AIM planes being grounded, it got extended to the 11th. For about a day, I really felt desperate to go down to Nairobi – I’d said my goodbyes, there wasn’t a lot left to do. But then I had accepted that and had started to make a few plans, grateful for a few extra days. Then today at lunchtime, I got an email saying that a plane coming from elsewhere in the north is able to make a diversion to pick me up, so, indeed, I would be leaving tomorrow. And just like that, my time remaining in Korr went from five days to less than twenty-four hours.

I’ve felt all day long like I’ve been punched in the gut. I feel totally unprepared to leave again, and I don’t even know how to process everything that is happening so fast. I still feel like in a week or two, I’ll be boarding another plane to come back here.

Except that I won’t. I’ll be boarding a plane, yes, but that plane will be taking me back to Canada – to my family, to my friends, to my own culture, my own language, my own culture. I’m happy to go, yes, but I’m leaving behind people and a place I may never see again, and that makes the departure bittersweet.

Anihi soonokhdi magardi, lakini chirri an Korr ka ‘doo‘d Rendille iargin, Goobi Waakh ka icho arga. (I don’t know if I will return, but if I don’t see the Rendille in Korr, I will see them in heaven.)

Until then, when I see the full moon rise, I will think about the “light nights” in Korr, and continue to pray for the Rendille, and for Nick and Lynne, Jim and Laura, Grant and Loki, and all the Rendille believers. It is they who, even on the darkest of nights, carry a light capable of piercing the darkness.


Sandy said...

I don't comment very often, but I wanted to thank you so much for sharing your mission trip with all of us. It was incredible to read your posts and to learn about the people you were meeting. I have no doubt but that you graced their lives in ways that will live in their hearts forever.

AfricaBleu said...

I know those black nights of Kenya--I've commented before on how the night is darker there than anywhere else. I'm so glad you had an amazing trip. To celebrate your time there, and your trip home, I will share with you my favorite line from Karen Blixen's book, OUT OF AFRICA: "If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

I like to think Africa has a song of me, tucked deep in her red dirt--and now she has one of you.

Blessings, friend.