July 28, 2010

Africa, Day 8, Part 1

7-16-10

Woke up early today.  6:00am.  Our last day in Keta.
We saw Doche, Divine, Prince & Noel off to school this morning and said our final goodbyes.  Those boys are so incredible.
I grabbed a quick shower and by the time I'd returned Roger & Vinnie were hanging out in the living room.  Those kids are so sweet - it's almost unbearable!
We saw them off to school with the promise of us coming to get them out of class to say goodbye before we left.  We had a light breakfast, a couple pieces of homemade bread, before going back to our area of the house to clean up and pack up.  We spent some time with Jeremiah & Ellie, just chatting and hanging out and before we realized it, 11:30 came around and it was time to start loading up the car.  It was hard all morning holding back the tears, but I just couldn't hold back anymore when I watched Matt say goodbye to Roger & Vinnie, and then Ellie.
 The car ride started out rough.  It was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down completely in tears.  Tears because I've fallen in love with the peace I found in Keta.  Tears thankful for all God has done the past week.  Tears for the way God's love bound us together so closely.  The love I have for Matt, Jake & Jeremiah is indescribable -- the only explanation is God and I absolutely love that.  Tears because I'm in love with the way we relied on prayer & God's voice to lead us the whole way and I'm fearful that will fade away when I get home.  Tears because I'm fearful of how to explain all this to my husband - how will he react?  Will he get it?  Then what?  Tears because I so longed for Jeremiah to be on this plane with us.  Tears because I will miss Jake - even if we're only an hour or two apart, life always manages to get in the way.
So I kept watching the minutes on the clock and telling myself, "It's okay, we still have ___ hours to be with Jeremiah."
He was so quiet on the drive to Accra it killed me.  I wish we could have talked more, connect in some way.  Instead, most of the three hour drive was spent in silence, a depressing we-know-what's-coming kind of silence.
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When we reached Accra our first stop was going to be the US Embassy.  Matt was going to go in and see if he could talk to someone about Jeremiah's student visa.  While we were turning around in grid-lock traffic to get to the right street, we got an e-mail from Tammy saying the Embassy was closed at noon on Fridays.  It was 3:45.  My heart fell.  This was one thing I was looking forward to! I was excited for Jeremiah, and I was feeling good about God's favor being all over us.  And now the Embassy was closed.  When Matt broke the news to Jeremiah and asked him what he thought, his reply was, "He makes all things work together for my good."  Reason #34,234,728,374,027 why I love that boy!  In the face of disappointment he remains positive.  I certainly can not say that I was that way at age 20!  
So the next stop was Yireh's office.  Clementina had shipped some gifts for us to her and we were going to meet up to say good bye too. (Yireh & Clementina are Jeremiah's other two sisters)  So we saw her for a little bit and then prayed for some high-up government attorney before setting off for the cultural market.  This market is the 'tourist' market.  No food is sold here, just goodies for all the tourists.  When we parked, men started coming at us right away and getting in our faces trying to get us to buy their stuff.  I grabbed on to Jeremiah and Matt came over to grab my other hand while Jake walked behind me and David in front of us.  I love those boys, so protective of me. :)  The time at the market was pretty much a blur.  I mostly remember just holding on to someone's hand and walking through fast enough that people wouldn't stop us to get in our faces about buying their stuff.  
After we were back in the car Matt asked David where we were headed next.  I heard the word I knew was coming, but dreaded all the same, "the airport."  Slowly the tears began to fall, but I held back as best I good.  I couldn't loose it yet.  Two or three hours later, after getting through a ridiculous amount of traffic (the airport was only about 20 minutes away!)and driving over a triple-decker bridge, we were in the parking lot of the airport.  Looking back on it I am so thankful for that traffic - because it really extended our time together.  
In the parking lot, we unloaded our stuff and did a little rearranging with things we had purchased at the market and the gifts we'd gotten from Clementina, then we packed the car back up and got out the cooler and some snacks.  We had a little while until we had to be in the airport and since Jeremiah and David couldn't come in, we hung out in the parking lot.
Eventually Jeremiah got the guitar out and started playing a little bit.  We were sitting on the back bumper of the SUV.  I asked Jeremiah a question ( I don't even remember what now) but he didn't respond.  So I looked over at him and saw his eyes closed and his head down while he was playing.  And then I was crying.  Trying so hard not to but I couldn't help the few that were falling.  I lost it completely when Jake took over the guitar and starting playing and singing "How He Loves."  I had to get up and walk to the side of the car and just let the tears come.  I had held it in so long and my stomach was tied up in knots and I just couldn't hold back anymore.  I was crying my eyes out.  I wasn't sobbing hysterically or anything, the tears were just raining down my face in droves, endless and so full of emotion.
After being consoled by Matt and taking a few deep breaths I pulled myself together enough to walk back around the car and sit back down while Jake played some more on the guitar.  Jeremiah gave me a squeeze and I lost it all over again.  Matt kept looking at his watch and the thing I'd come to fear was going to happen soon - we were going to have to go into that airport and leave Jeremiah and David behind.  I didn't want to let go yet.  I wasn't ready.  
I watched Jeremiah walk across the parking lot to go pay the fee.  I don't remember a time I've had such strong emotions like this.  We pulled up to the gate & Jeremiah got back in the front seat.  I put my hand on his shoulder because I could see on his face how upset he was to not be coming with us.  He grabbed my hand and held on tight until we got to the unloading zone.  We got ourselves and our luggage out of the car and gave our final hugs.  I didn't want to let go!  I wanted to grab his hand and take him with us.  I was crying again but I could tell he was trying to be strong.  I cried all the way into the airport until I had to pull it together when we got to customs and had to answer questions. 
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