Goodbyes are a big deal in Kenya.
Through out the 15 months that we were in Kenya our family was able to learn about the importance of a proper farewell to Kenyans.
Of course we’re talking about a going away aka tea party.
Of course there will be presents.
Of course a ridiculous amount of photographs will be taken.
That’s normal even for Americans.
But what was new and an adjustment for our family was:
The flood of unexpected visitors to our home throughout the day and evening the entire week before our departure.
The unexpected amount of gifts ranging from bunches of fresh bananas cut from the tree to hand knit baby sweaters for Ameena and offers of a goat to take home with us (declined of course because we were traveling by air not a matatu!)–mostly given by people with barely enough to eat themselves.
The ways in which staff began to pull back from us emotionally in preparation for our departure.
Allowing for (and planning/paying for) an airport escort by 38 staff, residents and friends because you’re not a true Kenyan if you don’t escort someone fully to either the bus, the train, the airplane etc. I guess the 2 vanloads (yes 38+ people) of Kenyans at the airport made an impression because a fellow airplane passenger I met in Dubai said he thought we had the whole town saying goodbye to us when he saw us all at the Nairobi airport. Perhaps not a town, but a whole Centre community!
And hopefully tomorrow, pictures of the event……