The last day I was in Liberia was one of the most heartbreaking. It has taken me until now to write about it. We had a big assembly with out host families, who knew we would be leaving for our new assignment homes within the month. They were already prepared to say goodbye. I was already having trepidation. I wish that I had not gotten sick that second weekend and could have spent more time with my family and less time in my bedroom. I wish I had not felt so rundown and tired getting used to the diet. I know that this next time will be different, don’t we all say that about things that we feel that we had shortcomings on?
To this day, I still have no way to call my host family just to catch up with them. Maybe I will look into calling cards, they used to have those way back in the day. I have no idea if my family is safe and healthy. I wish that last day I would have went back home to spend time with them. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion. I had already cried and just wanted to nap and take care of any other last-minute details. I wish I could do that over again.
During the assembly was the most heart wrenching of all of my life. After the announcement was made that we would be shipped home, the families wept. They wept harder than us, because this moment was monumental for them. We had no idea what it meant until one lady stood up and cried this is just like 1990. As soon as Peace Corps pull out the rest of the aid follows. And then we knew what it meant, it was the sound of lost hope. For Liberians when the “white” folk pull out this means years of devastation and no relief. I have never experienced loss of hope on a national scale before, it is something I hope to never experience again. It is heart wrenching and succumbs to this feeling of guilt and sorrow. It creates this awkward divide that cannot be bridged.
Those commercials of puppies in pounds or starving children, imagine being there for real. Seeing it for real. The commercials are heartbreaking enough, but to be there almost paralyzes you. You have no choice you are forced into a decision you would not have made. To leave loved ones behind, is akin to being in a fire, escaping only to realize you left your family behind. You cannot go back and help them, all you can do is stand by and watch. And watching, to be sure, is so much worse than perishing in the flames.
Although many did not die, their hope did. Frankly the death of hope is far worse than death itself. The most horrible sound in the World, is the sound of lost hope.