Today is my last day at the school. It’s a tough day to cope with. Strong emotions run abound and I’m trying to keep them compressed within me. I want the kids to see a strong and happy individual, something they’re used to.
Gavin came into our storage container today to express his gratitude towards me. I’ve been with him for 10 weeks now, 10 weeks down, 10 weeks of seeing the same faces day-in and day-out, 10 weeks of getting to know and love these kids, these beautiful faces, each and every day. Thats hard to think about leaving.
“My boys” is what I like to refer to the soccer team as, simply because I somewhat took over the position as coach for them upon my arrival to the program. I ran their drills, taught them a little bit of the game of soccer, I got onto them when I needed to and in the end I probably learned more than they did. I learned to be patient, careful, respectful, and commanding all at once. I had to garner their respect in order to get through to them. This was no tough task, but I somehow found a way to get through to them and in the end I think they just might of learned a thing or two.
Gavin came in to talk to me and it took everything I had to hold back the tears from what he had to say. He alluded to practices and drills, but commented more so on my attitude towards the soccer team rather than the actual drills themselves. He said the team would miss me dearly for my patience with them, my willingness to work hard with them and my character along the way.
I received letters from two of the 5th grade boys thanking me, telling me I am leaving them too soon. To be honest, I am leaving them too soon. They mention in their letters that they learn from me, that they talk about me with friends and family. Conversation about me? Does that mean there’s some sort of an impact?
It’s warming to hear such things. Who knows if anybody has had the same connection I have to this group of boys, but I sure hope that somebody can come in and fill my role. They simply want somebody to look up to. They want to continue to learn and better themselves - they seek guidance.
The question is how long will they remember me? How much of an impact, if any, might I have made? How long until they have somebody to help mold them into better players, better students, and better men? In the end, all I really care for is the sweetness I experienced, the smiles that blessed me, and the hearts that opened up to me are in a better place. I want them to mature and be one of the people that make it from this place. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the evil that surrounds their homes, I sure hope they find a way to avoid it.
It’s an absolute terrible feeling having to say goodbye. Life must go on though, and that life just so happens to be on the other side of the world.
Goodbye South Africa. Goodbye my friends.