Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Final Journal Entry

The following is excerpts from my final journal entry in Malekula. It was also my last journal entry in Vanuatu, because upon returning to Port Vila, I became sick, and didn't recover until a couple of days after I returned to Sydney. The excerpt has been heavily edited for personal reason, but it gives you an understanding of what I was feeling.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
This is the last morning that I can wake up legitimately say that my clothes smell like campfire because I spent last night frying lap-lap in the fire for the 1st Annual (likely to not be repeated) YCI Lambubu Yam Festival. (Yam Festival because we have nothing else to eat.)

Time to go help pack. . .Okay, and go drink my coconut. . .

We're waiting at the airport in Norsupp. . .no sign of the airplane yet--even on our final day here, island time prevails. . .

When our truck rolled away [from Lambubu] everyone was crying, save for me and Tara. [Team no-cry!] Dave's eyes were red as he clutched his guitar which all the kids and our counterparts had signed, Samuel and Becca huddled together, and Rose hid her face in her hands. The only thing that stopped the tears was a rousing rendition of Brother, Fire! which was incredibly ill-suited to our moods, but at the same time perfect to match the sense of accomplishment we all felt.

In Norsupp I had 3 things I haven't had in 5 weeks:

1) Coca-cola (cold, too!)
2) Ice (in orange freezie form!)
3) Butter (or some oil-related fascimile)

I'm not really sad to leave Lambubu, persay. The one thing I regret is that I didn't make any serious connections like everyone else did. Maybe I didn't try hard enough? . . .Did I make the fullest contribution I could have? . . .

. . .and I want to do this all again. On Dave's guitar I wrote, "Vanuatu, how can I do all I want to do when 90% of me is you?"

Saturday, August 5th, 2006, Sydney, Australia
Our homecoming to Vila was filled with noise. . .seeing all the other white people shocked me and the lights were difficult to deal with. . .after eating a bowl of rice Curtis, Erin, Tim and I headed to the Anchor Inn to share stories. . .it felt incredibly good to ask them what happened in their groups on and on their projects. . . .so, I'm not the only one.

Tim showing off his custom mat. "This is your present" is weaved into it.

Becca's fans that her hostmom made.

Lucy, Erin, Cynthia and Zach waiting on our last day at the Scout Hall for the vans to take us to the airport.

People were already starting to cry in the van to the airport.

The V6-6A Malekula group together for the last time. I spent 6 weeks of my life living with these people in the most unusual circumstances, and I will likely never see many of them again. (Tara and Nicole are missing because Tara had also been severly sick the night before, so Nicole took her to check into a hotel.) I spent most of the flight sleeping off my illness.

I was weak this morning and it was hard to sit up, but I feel small better. I was going home. . .or at least someplace with hot water. Cal (Chloe's boyfriend) picked me up at the airport and Chloe gave me a hug. I bathed and shaved and am doing laundry, which still smells.

I've lost weight. A lot, actually. I need to sleep again soon.

And I still haven't eaten anything but rice of bread for over 6 weeks now.

The End.

Goodbye Vanuatu.
Post-script or After the Credits:

Jo and I spent the 3 weeks post-project travelling through Australia together. I'll post those pictures soon. I've also since seen Jo in Ottawa for her birthday, and I am going to be seeing her again this weekend.

Dave and I talk online sometimes, and Becca and I send e-mails back and forth occasionally. The Canadian contigent (apart from Jo) are all back in university and doing well, and many of us have made personal changes to our lives since coming home.

Liesa and Morsen, as the YCI project superteam group leaders went to Tanna on a second project after Malekula. It was also a success. Liesa has since returned to Australia, where she is trying to learn to survive without a bushknife.

Tara and I met each other in Sydney after I was finished travelling up the coast. We had a wild night on the town together before I returned to Canada. I miss her like crazy, but I'm confident I'll see her again someday. (I also saw Erin and Zach, who were in the Emua group, while I was in Australia, and got the chance to meet them in another context.)

I haven't heard from Iven, Samuel or Rose since the project, but I think of them often.

As for me? I returned to university in the fall, and did some work with YCI at the Go Abroad Fair and the Ryerson Career Fair. I also spoke for a CIDA at the Go Abroad fair about my experiences, and I've been trying to mentor future challengers through this blog and through Taking it Global, an online forum.

I'm hoping this was not my last project.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me teary-eyed. How did you not cry leaving?


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