Four days left. Today is Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Sunday evening I get on British Airways for my flight back to the US for furlough. One suitcase is 3/4 packed, the other one not even started. The house doesn’t look all that different because RVA is having a couple come out for just one term to fill in for another teacher, and RVA asked if they could stay in my house. Nice. That means I didn’t have to pack up my furniture and other stuff and put it all into storage. However there isn’t much food left in the house. Most is either eaten or given away. Most of my cloths have also been either packed away or donated. I’m giving tests today and tomorrow to my 7th grade World History class. All I’ll need to do is grade them and get the grades into the grade book program and I’ll be ready to go.
Am I excited to go on furlough? Yes and no. Yes — Life is easier in the US. If I run out of something, I can just jump in the car, drive to Walmart and pick it up. Everything is available. Yes — Drivers on the roads obey traffic laws, and when they don’t, the police deal with them appropriately. Speaking of the police, in the US, I know the police are on my side, not against me. Unless I do something wrong. Yes — I’m excited to be able to visit friends and family. Yes — I like going and speaking at churches that support me, both financial support and prayer support. Yes — I like going to all the great restaurants in the US (like Shady Maple). Yes — I like the change of pace that furlough brings.
But no, as well. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has called me to minister here at RVA. And when I leave RVA for furlough, I feel that I’m letting God down. I’m not, I know that, but still it’s a feeling. I love what I’m doing here, teaching the Jr. High kids. I’m sad that I won’t be able to teach these kids next term, and that by leaving, I’m making someone else fill in for me, making their lives busier because I’m becoming less busy. I love being involved in Jr. High ROCK, teaching soccer, watching rugby, having 30 kids in my living room watching TV and cheering on Manchester United when they beat Liverpool last weekend, and sad that I won’t be able to do that for the next 6 months. I’m not excited about furlough, knowing that when I want to do some studying or lesson preparation that my books and papers are here in Kenya while I’m in Pennsylvania. I’m not excited, knowing that the lady who supplies me with vegetables really does need my business, and that I won’t be able to assist her by giving her money to help put her kids through school. (Education ain’t free in Kenya, no matter what the government says.) I love driving 17 RVA students down to an orphanage in the valley below us and playing with the orphans for the day, and sad that I won’t be able to do that next school term.
I realize that I’m 45 years old (soon to be 46, July 9th I’ll be at Shady Maple, feel free to join). I’ve lived in Kenya from the age of 3 until 18, (15 years), then from 1999 through four days from now (16 years). So 31 of those 45 years, Kenya has been home. And will always be home. And I don’t like leaving home.
So I guess what I’m saying is: Four more days until I come home to the US. And I’m excited to be coming. And 144 more days until I come home to Kenya. And I’m excited to be coming back.