We wake from our beds today with heavy hearts, as we come to the groggy realization that we have reached our final day in the Warm Heart of Africa. It has been one of those bittersweet days. You know, that feeling of excitement you get when you think about returning home, intertwined with the feeling of sadness when you realize you’ll be leaving newfound friends and family. We look back on the time we’ve spent together over these last 5 weeks with warmth and appreciation toward the culture we have become so accustomed to.
How do you spend your final day in a destination with so much to offer? Obviously, part of the day must be consumed with packing for the journey home, which we decided to do this morning. Laz drove us to QECH to gather the last of our equipment and supplies to be divided into the 14 action packers returning home with us. A few of us stayed at QECH to assist with action packer packing, while others ventured into Blantyre to do some final shopping at the Chitinje market, Shoprite for groceries, and wood carving stands.
The evening ended with a delicious Italian buffet with the entire HFH team as well as audiology officers from QECH. We’ve really come together as a family throughout this trip, and that was made clear tonight. We shared in conversation while we enjoyed our chicken/chambo/beef/spaghetti/rice/seasonal veggies/vegetarian lasagna/potatoes (yeah, there was a ton of food; don’t forget about dinner and drinks as well) and talked about how we all fully intend on returning next year (because at this point, we all fully intend to). Regina and Robert, two of QECH’s Audiology officers, will be attending a gala at Starkey University in July just two days after the Audiology students leave Starkey University’s student workshop. We were all excited to hear that they will be flying to the United States, but sad to realize that we will miss seeing them by only two short days.
As we all settle into our beds in Blantyre for our final night, the reality of leaving this new home of ours sinks further into our hearts, but don’t be too concerned. As saddened as we are, we’re excited to be returning to the comforts of our own homes and to be greeted by close friends and family once again. We will awake for breakfast bright and early at 5:30am tomorrow morning, and plan to leave the comfort of Annie’s Lodge by 6:30 to catch our 9:45am back towards the US. See you all soon!
Calla and the HFH team