I drifted off to sleep, lashes damp with tears, for one last night under the drape of mosquito net. Tonight, we begin our long trip home. Am I ready to go?
I'm not sure I will ever be ready to say goodbye to Africa.
Looking back, the expectations for this trip could not have been higher, and yet... everyday here has reached beyond my wildest dreams.
Driving back to Arusha Town, my eyes remained in the countryside, hoping to memorize the landscape and further imprint it on my heart... so I will never forget.
Our group of 13 gathered together, to share the highlights and last words. It was clear that I had not fallen in love alone. When it was my turn to speak, all of the words I had stored up to share came out broken with tears... because not only did this group embrace Africa... they also completely embraced my children.
My bags are packed... with tangible treasures of this magnificent place... but my heart, oh, it could hardly remain the same. There is so much I have stored away.. so much I hope to recall in vivid detail.
The beauty of small, rough, dark hands stretched out across my own fair palms.
The sounds that break the silence of the wild.
The freedom and abandon I felt while dancing with the Maasi.
The joy filled eyes of the children as we waved back with smiles.
The endless beauty that surely could not be contained by the camera lens.
Tonight I say goodbye to Africa and my heart will ache as I leave this place. But I know... that this place... these people... they will never leave me. And maybe one day... we will return and retrace the footsteps of the journey.
at least for now.