Saturday, March 24, 2012

Post-Camp Entry

Sitting on my balcony overlooking Shimla as dusk turns to evening time. It looks like a black
sari with all its sparkles and spangles glittering orange, white, red, green and yellow. Cars move slowly along the narrow roads coming up the hills in and out of town. Horns honk, voices can be heard in the dark, a faucet runs down below somewhere. After a month of intensity at camp, there is peace and quiet and a whole week of reflecting on what happened this past month.
Camp ended on a great note 2 days ago, and amid teary eyes, my students, staff and I all said good bye after a fantastic month together. The kids worked really hard and while there was some doubts about their progress now and then, in the end they came together as a group of future leaders for their country. This is only the beginning for them and I look forward to hearing about all the fantastic things they will be doing back in their communities. The youth of Afghanistan are the ones who will change their country and despite what happens there, I for one
know that there is a bright future ahead.
The end of camp is always a bunch of mixed emotions for me. All at once the students are gone and there is a quiet that is almost deafening, taking up the space where there was loud chatter, laughter and teenage noise. It’s like a sudden death with the immediate shock of not having that person be there. I am also happy for I know that my staff and I have done our job well, and it shows in all the thank you cards, letters and emails I get from my students. I am also relieved that the intense month is over and finally I can relax for a while. Now, perching on my balcony in Shimla, I can process the highlights and the challenges of the month as I write my final report.
Below me lies the valley that stretches out beyond the horizon. It is like my life right now,
open, vast and nothing planned. I was awoken from the dream that was Wonderland and cannot get back to sleep so as to return to it. With that sudden conciousness, my life is adrift towards a point not yet recognized but there are places along the way. After Shimla, I’m flying off to Ethiopia for two weeks to see my friends Bob and Denis and explore another country in Africa. I
haven’t read up much about it but I will once I get there. After Ethiopia, I’m flying back home to my Brooklyn abode for a while to do some housework, gardening and snuggling of Lulu. After that, who knows what is in store for Mr. Tom Toomey but I know it’s all in a bigger plan already designed for me. Everything happens for a reason and in its own time, just like that first bright star twinkling above me right now.

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