Just a couple of weeks ago Carolina, one of the girls from the older girl’s home, moved out. Her sister came with a signed court order that authorized the move. In less than two hours, Carolina said good-bye to all the girls as well as the tias and with the help of the other girls in the home packed up her stuff. She and sister left in a taxi with 3 suitcases and a black garbage bag and headed to the bus terminal. They were going back to Santa Cruz where the rest of her family lives.
As she was moving her stuff from the house to the taxi, she said good-bye one final time to everyone. When she said good-bye to me, tears started to roll down my cheeks. I was at a loss of words and could only express myself through my tears. I could not even make eye contact with her as she left through the door of the girl’s home that was leading her to the beginning of a new life. I did not want to see her leave. I was hoping that this was all a joke and I would see her the next time that I was at the girl’s home. Sadly, this was not a joke and she was in fact leaving.
As I thought more and more about my reaction to her good-bye, I was grieving for the loss of the physical presence of Carolina in my life. She and I had a connection on my first day of work. I rang the doorbell to the girl’s home and was very scared as to what was going to happen that day. However, I did not need to fear anything because she was there with me the entire time. She introduced me to all of the girls and the tias that worked there. She talked to me using very simple Spanish because I forgot every word in Spanish that I had just learned at the Maryknoll Institute. At lunch time, she included me in the prayer by asking God to take care of me during my time in Bolivia. From this moment, I knew that she was a special girl and was going to help me a lot during my mission. I was not sure how, but I was going to be fine here. She had given me the confidence that I needed.
My good-bye was not my best moment. I have never been great with saying good-bye to anyone. In fact, all of my good-byes turn into moments like the one that I just described. Then I wonder, how could this have been better? Is there another way to say good-bye without the involvement of crying? I do not know. Crying will just have to be part of my good-byes until I figure out another way.