Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saying goodbye...

My radio call sign is November Zulu Yankee 1. It has been for nearly a year. It is how we know and find each other on the VHF radios. Losing it is something akin to losing part of myself. No one in the ‘real world’ knows me as NZY1. This is just one more reminder that I need to find myself again in the ‘real world’. Remember how to walk and talk – remember what ‘normal’ people talk and laugh about. Remember what it is like to not have to listen always for your call sign on the radio.

I have exactly four days left in Darfur. It is harder to leave than I thought it would be. Not because I am not looking forward to leaving, but just because I feel like the work is not finished – like I’m leaving the game at half-time. Hardly anyone ever asks you when you’re leaving if you’ll miss Darfur because no one I know has ever missed this place very much. Just like, if you’re supporting the losing team, no one would ask you if you were saddened by missing the last half of the game. It’s just not the sort of thing people miss.

However, there are things that I will miss. Things that were formative and changed my perspective on living and my outlook. Auden said: “Somewhere there are places where we have really been, dear spaces, of our deeds and faces. Scenes we remember as unchanging – because there we changed.” I think particularly of moments, even if they were few and far between, that struck me because of their blinding beauty and grace. Moments that stand out simply in contrast to the stark ugliness around them. They are not necessarily happy moments – as we have become accustomed to counting happiness - but they are beautiful:

The old blind man, led around town by a small boy with a begging bowl;

the time at dinner when a street child approached our table and the people around us tried to shoo him away and a friend turned and said, in Arabic, ‘No, it’s fine. He’s a friend of mine. We’re talking.’;

Jasmine the stray dog who lives outside a friend's compound who has adopted and guards all the expats who stop by;

the silly conversations that people carry on with when there is no pop culture to relate to - like what our super-human power would be if we had one.

Of course, there is a much longer list of what I will not miss. But I hope that, in retrospect, I will find that just one of these moments is enough to cover over a multitude of ugliness..

This is November Zulu Yankee 1 out.

6 comments:

dZima said...

Kelsey, guess who this is...
been trying to read your posts all this time. w.o.w.

we should re-connect when you get back...

dima

Jane said...

Thank you sooo much for your amazing blog. Thank you for sharing November Zulu Yankee 1.

kate said...

Hey, wow! I guess that means that today's the day you're on your way back.
Godspeed, my friend.

nancy said...

you bring me to tears!!!! can't wait to be with you again. Give yourself lots of grace on the return.

pellucid said...

I pray the forces of evil never find the 'kryptonite' for your prodigous blogging super-powers!

We await your return, NZY1, with baited breath.

Kir said...

Busted!
found yr blog ms mushkila.
Will miss you and the brunches (cant believe no brunch ever scored a blog) and the rude comments in security brief. Bisous. k