So, here it is. My last day here. Well…it’s tomorrow. But I thought I’d reflect on this past month. I started out as an intern here and I’m now leaving with so many other job titles. I’m leaving now, hopefully, as someone the City of Refuge staff can come to at any time and ask for, well, anything. I want to be there for whatever silly things come up in their crazy hectic lives. I also signed on to do some Sponsor Relations-esque jobs that I’m excited for.

However, the one job title that I cherish the most and that I will always remember is “Auntie McKenzie”.

Job Description includes: feeding Edwin my left over bread and food, Allowing Portia to sit on my lap at any given time, being D.K.’s personal spell check, string holder for crafting bracelets, attempting to teach math I’ve forgotten in Autumn’s class, and somehow supplying enough attention to 22 children and babies. Easy, yeah? Oh and of course, giving the kids lots of love and hugs. THAT’S the easy part.

These kids have overcome such great obstacles of pain and hopelessness, and yet now in the presence of a loving family, loving staff, and loving volunteers they are allowed to be kids again. Childhood has conquered. Although moments of their horrible past seep through during rare moments, you can most likely find them playing soccer, tennis, or “volleyball” played with a bouncy ball.

One of my favorite memories was when we were going off to cut “bamboo” (which ended up being some type of African Bush tree). A group of kids came and as we were walking through the swampy, muddy, mess, I expressed my deep concern about the fact that a snake could be lurking near by. Of course, all the chitlins ears perked up at this concern and they began to tease and poke fun for my fear – as children will do. They find your weakness and then STRIKE (just kidding of course!). It was finally Paul that exclaimed “McKenzie LOOK OUT there’s a SNAKE behind you!!!”. I knew this game. I looked at him and with my eyes I said….yeah right. Benard piped up, as he usually does at random moments, and said, before I could say anything, “Why must everyone always say the negative, why instead, can’t they say the good. Instead of saying there’s a snake, why can’t you say ‘McKenzie, look, there’s an angel behind you’?” Just like what happened to you reading….my heart melted too. With such a hopeless past, came such optimistic words. It made me realize what good this organization was doing. If left back at his village, in horrible conditions, would such optimistic words exist in his life?

It’s easy to see….I’m sad to go. Just like everyone who has walked through the “compound” gates, in Tema or Doryum, I am so sad to leave. I will definitely return – without any doubt in the world.