“Janine showed me what it looks like, the meaning of integration.”
I seem to be alternating between a feeling of emptiness and one of a heavy weight pressing down on my chest, causing the tightness there to push up and leak out of my eyes.
For me, integration wasn’t my focus. That word never really entered my mental vocabulary until I received this toast from my coach and working partner, Don, a few nights ago. I was in this thing, from the beginning, to meet real people. To move beyond the vague conception of “the poor rural farmers” that I was working for, and to have real people that I am invested in, as people, that will work with me to make change in this world. I have this wonderfully in Canada, and this fullness of inspiring friends now extends its roots deeply into Northern Ghanaian soil. For me that is less integration, and more an emotional solidity in an expanded number of people in this world.
The JF placement for me was a leap of faith, to choose a path that I thought was going to work, and that I was going to commit to try to make work. This path has more than provided for me; I had some amazing company to walk along it.
I’m feeling not so much that I’m leaving my friends behind, but that we are having our lives split apart, and that we will all grow down different paths for some time. And the hope is that they will at some point converge again.
As my best friend Arimiyaw said to me, “The problem is not missing you for now. The problem is missing you forever.”