A week to go before I leave.
I have had to pace myself. A 7 week mission. Some people are out here for much longer and I keep saying, I know what my capacity is and how long I can go in order to still be able to function with some modicum of efficiency and effectiveness.
How are the others doing it? Those who have signed up for three months, six months, a year?
Everyday, there are new faces out here. With a week left to go, I am not even bothering to get to know them or find out who they are. That happens in every mission, without fail. You get used to the people you know and you are comfortable hanging out with them. By luck, or they know someone, a new face will become part of your group. It's just too much effort otherwise.
We were talking about this and it seems to be a mental shift. I know I am here for 7 weeks. Those on longer contracts know they are here for the long run. You pace yourself differently. Every 6 weeks, most people are entitled to a week R&R. That seems to be the marker then. You think in 6 week blocks.
I see myself coming back to Haiti. Not sure in what capacity or for how long, but I see myself coming back here. I would be surprised if I didn't.
A first mission delegate was out here and as she was gearing up to leave (after extending her mission more than double), she was struggling with saying goodbye. You dont actually ever say goodbye. Not a place and most certainly, not to people. You never know when you will see them again and that's the beauty of what we do. I am working once again with someone I worked with five years ago. We saw each other socially, twice since then, but here we are now. Having breakfast together, checking in with each other. It's great.
My tattoo brother is out here too. Five years ago, Oct 2005, Berlin, Germany, he gave me his tattoo from his calf for my back. I saw him after that last year, again, by mistake in Nairobi. People ask me about the frog on my back. It's not a frog but I can see how it looks like one. I was telling someone about my tattoo brother and lo and behold, the next night, he shows up. Random. And typical. And typically, I haven't seen him since then, three nights ago. I could track him down and find out but I like the relationship we have. There are no emails unless we have something important like a birth of a child (his), marriage (mine), and we see each other when we see each other.
You don't say good bye.
Just au revoir.