Emotions running higher and higher as I prepare to leave Liberia.
Friday, one of my students stole my phone. The idea of it more than anything is what gets to me, that one of the kids I've been fighting to teach for the past 9 months would turn around and do something so backhanded. But although I was really pissed about it for a day, the sympathy of community members – including other students – made me feel much better. It seems like every Liberian I know heard of the theft within 24 hours of its occurrence, and made sure to express their outrage at the student thief's actions. And while it's annoying to be phone-less, I really can't cry about it too much; it's only a phone and I wouldn't have used it in the States anyway.
In general, the students have been driving me absolutely up the wall lately. I've essentially finished teaching, and have been returning my classes' final grades to them, which has resulted in a great deal of whining and begging. I don't know why the students haven't figured out yet that the more they complain about their grades, the less sympathetic I become, but I'm less inclined than ever to listen to their complaints.
In addition to the pressures of school, I've been stressed about the details of my imminent travel back to the US. I still don't know exactly when I'll be leaving town, how long I'll be in Monrovia, and when I'll get home; it all depends on whether or not I can find a ride to Monrovia with an NGO. I know that the school is planning to have some sort of going-away program for me, which puts me in a crunch because they want to hold it at the end of the week, while I want to peace out as soon as I find a vehicle traveling to Monrovia . . . but I know I can't leave without letting them have their formal goodbye. So even though I'd really rather just sneak off without a big fuss (though I am very touched that they want to thank me for teaching here), I know that I'll have to adjust my travel plans around the party and try to enjoy it as best I can.
Anyway. I'm sorry for the whiny, repetitive entry, which I realize is probably very boring to you. As you may have guessed from the fact that I've now written three entries about essentially the same topic, I'm having a little bit of trouble these days seeing past my own very mixed emotions. While I'm eager to get back to the US because of all of the things I just listed, at the same time, each day brings a new little reminder of all of the things I love about living here. Yesterday, the neighborhood kids spent a good hour trying (and failing) to teach me to shoot marbles, and it almost broke my heart to think that I will probably never see most of them again. Everything – my affection for the kids, my worries about getting safely back to the US, my regrets at leaving Liberia, my irritation with the students, my discomfort with hearing people half-jokingly ask me (over and over again) to take them to America, my guilt at the fact that my little adventure in Liberia is coming to an end while those who are really suffering are stuck here . . . all of this is making me into a big old emotional mess.