We had a Despedida (or Farewell Party) today at Casa Maria. It was the first time I think I realized that these people actually like us. It’s weird because the residents started crying when we announced it was our last day there. I don’t know why it was so weird so me or shocking, but I just felt like we were simply another group of volunteers to them and I didn’t entirely understand that we meant so much to them… until the tears started to come.
Did I mention that I’m not good with emotional good-byes? I don’t do them… it’s too hard. So I shook a few people’s hands and then went and sat with my little woman who always says things in such a distressed manner but she’s really just saying “hello” or “it’s nice to see you.” But by the way she talks, you’d think she was scared to death when she’s not. Today she asked me to take her somewhere in the same voice so I took her to a chair about 10 feet from her bed and just sat with her. I asked if I could have a picture to remember her and she said yes. Then I showed it to her and she was a little confused by the look on her face in the foto. She looks terrified like always but that’s just her. I’m so going to miss her!
After the party we went to the Tecun Uman graduation where we all got graduation certificated and Don Mario served us carrot cake. This was our chance to say goodbye to everyone and again, I sort of chickened out, shook a few hands, gave a few hugs and snuck out the back way. Goodbyes really aren’t my thing since I’ll stay in contact with the people who I’ve connected with the most. These days with Facebook and email, you really cant hide from anyone.
Lisa, Erika, and I spent the rest of the evening in the market, bargaining for the mejor precio (best price) and trying to convince people that another man offered the same item to us for less. After 2 hours in the alleyways we were exhausted and worn down from trying to get an extra 5Q off an item, the equivalent of 70 cents. It’s so absurd when you really think about it but it comes with the territory.
We ended the night at Lisa’s house, just hanging out, reminiscing, and watching Lisa pack. We were supposed to go to La Sala, a club where people were going to all meet to say their goodbyes, get a little tipsy, and dance. But we were all so tired and it seemed like the 6 weeks of work finally caught up with us. As much as we all wanted to say goodbye, we all felt like it was better to stay in and just spend quality time with each other…. It was perfect.