We've enjoyed the Brazilian friends we have met through the Zambezi Jr. School here in Tete. They came as "set up" crew for the new mining boom. They brought their children into the African unknown with a hope to grow and make a difference in a hard place. They have added a new wrinkle to the Tete landscape and the school's culture. We have carpooled and shared ideas and dreams and frustrations about living in this place.They have let us invade their homes (when our home was no real refuge.) They have walked beside us and prayed beside us. We have been friends!
In February, one family relocated to Malawi leaving holes in the classrooms they left. Then we heard that the second family was relocating as well. Just this morning I learned that a departure planned for May was moved up to tomorrow. When they leave for vacation, they won't return to Tete, but will set up house in Maputo.
In this life we have chosen we are faced with constant turnover. We meet new friends and grow close fast. We all need more from a friendship when we are away from family and our home culture. One drawback of the "quick and deep" friendship is the inevitable despedida... saying goodbye to people we've grown to love in our adopted home.
I write about leaving as much as I write about arriving. It is all part of the same process: that pulling up of roots and shaking off the soil so that we can be transplanted where we will continue to grow. The new soil is rich, but our leaves wilt for a while as we wait for the new place to begin to nourish us. Look at that garden we left: there is a hole there where a healthy plant shared the sun and shade and water. We have grown together and my leaves and branches have been shaped by their presence. Now, there is a space beside me. If I'm lucky, the Gardener will bring in a new seed of friendship before long. Maybe He will bring a transplant to share my garden. Or maybe I will branch out and fill the space with new growth. It will be good either way. We will all have a chance to grow and bear fruit!
To my Brazilian Tete friends:
Vos desejo tudo bom, caras amigas minhas! Cresçam no lugar onde Deus vos plantou! Sigam a Ele e façam uma diferença na África que vos abraçou! Ensinem os filhos a lidar com uma medida do sofrimento dos outros. E saibam que se Tete ficou lugar amado, era por vontade de Deus... no superficie esta cidade não oferece uma vida rica, mas foi rica, não foi?