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.