I didn’t write about it, I barely talked about it, but - I was nervous to come back to Madagascar.
But I made it. I got through the day – with minimal tears even.
One on of my flights back to Canada, I made the decision that I would finish my contract and that would be that. Once my contract was over, I’d come back to Canada and live a “normal” life. After what I saw happen to Julien, I was in shock. How could I live in a country that had placed such a small value on a human life? I wanted to live in Canada and stick my head in the sand. Life was a lot more livable when the only starving kids in Africa I knew were on an informercial that played at three in the morning.
Then I started to read the emails of what the staff had been doing after his death. They rallied. They barely knew him (he was a driver assigned to one person, so they didn’t get many chances to interact), but they gathered together and went to his house and waited for the body to arrive (according to custom). They donated more money, food, and most importantly, their presence.
I thought back to the two Malagasy people that worked with me to get the insurance documents that Julien needed for his transfer. They kept in touch with his wife and gave her encouragement. They were essentially strangers. But they fought just has hard as I did.
So, me being me, started to worry last night. How was I going to face everyone. I didn’t know how much to say or what to say, or if I should talk about it, or not talk about it…
And then this morning came. And I talked about it to a few people. No tears. And then I talked to the guy that Julien went and drove for. I cried like five baby tears. And we just talked about the events and what happened, and grieved a bit together. I had wanted to talk to him in person ever since Julien died, but we were both on vacation. I needed him to know that I tried so hard. My hardest. The thing is, he knew without me telling him.
When I was on vacation, I bought a Canada t-shirt, a bear figurine holding the letter “H”, and a Canada sweatshirt. The Canada sweatshirt was for my driver. He is over the top awesome, and I wanted to buy him a small gift as a token of appreciation for his hard work and for how much he helped out in the whole events of those 48 hours. He came in today wearing it and WAS BEAMING.
The t-shirt and bear figurine were for a woman that reports directly to me. Her husband’s name also starts with an “H” (and works in our department), so she decided that she would keep the t-shirt and give the bear figurine to her husband. He was super excited. Which makes me all warm and fuzzy. (Ok, and tear up a bit.)
So my initial reaction of wanting to run away, and to hate this awful place that treats its citizens like dirt, has been washed away by all of the wonderful things that seem to temporarily overshadow the poverty and sadness. Yes, most of the people I know here do not make much money. But they are happy. And they take care of one another. And that’s worth being a part of. And not running away from.