We believed we were saying goodbye to Ndawana after 11 plus years living in South Africa and doing hands-on work in the community and the surrounding area. It was a painful decision, particularly in light of the past rollercoaster year of heartening progress followed by devastating heartbreak.
In March, having been reluctantly convinced that we finally were moving back to Canada, the Ndawana community surprised and delighted us with a beautiful tribute, which they called an appreciation day. The day was funded entirely by donations from community people. We happened to have several visitors from Canada at the time who were able to share in the day, including Chris’s sister Sue, who was well known to the community, having worked in Ndawana for months in 2009. We arrived on the day to find that they had provided us with Zulu dress for the day (which we kept and will cherish). We were treated to a moving afternoon of song, dance, tributes, gifts and food. It was a beautiful day, full of laughter and tears and the joy of experiencing this community joined together to say thank you and to express hope that we would return. The organized events were spectacular, but the true magic in the day were the people and their stories. And at the end of the day they brought in a live sheep as a gift to us. We gave half the sheep to community people and used the rest to invite people to a brai (barbecue) at our house.
Please watch a video of the appreciation day taken by Sue.