In Nicaragua, the school year begins in January. Which means that it ends in November. And just like in the states, the end of the year is full of celebrations. They call them Despedidas, which is a word that means goodbye.
This week, we are saying our despedidas. In every site, we are celebrating the completion of another year. We are saying good job and thank you to the people that we work with. But we are also saying goodbye to new friends. It is a bittersweet goodbye.
The hardest part for most of us is the not knowing. We are saying goodbye to a place we call home. We have family here. And friends here. We have favorite places to go and favorite places to eat. We know how to travel through the city and across the country. We know whom to greet with a kiss and how to eat Nacatamal. And most of us don’t know when, or if, we’ll come back. And this is hard.
But despedidas are also good. Because they mean that something was worth it. They mean that the class you took or the people you met or the conversations you had meant something. They taught you something. They helped you grow. They are also good because they mean we are one day closer to coming home, to our first home. And we are so excited about that.
For some of us, it will be a difficult task to share all the ways that we have been affected by this place. We have learned so much and grown in ways we still don’t know. Not everyone will understand this. And this makes our return seem scary. But going home is right and good. It is a bittersweet goodbye.
So as we finish our final week in Masaya, Nicaragua, we hope that you’ll pray for us, since this end is bittersweet. These goodbyes are hard, and we want to do them well. And when we get back to the states we want to be able to tell everyone why it was so hard to say goodbye. We want to be able to explain what makes this beautiful city so special.