It was bound to happen eventually: The mass exodus of friends who have “done their time” in this tiny Kingdom. If only it didn’t have to happen all at once.
Two weeks ago, fellow Aussie and all-round down-to-earth awesome chick, Bonnie, parted this sunny land to head back to Australia and enter the job-searching sludge after completing a post-Masters internship with SHAMBA. After just a few months, she managed to win the hearts and minds of rural women and kids around Nkoyoyo and established an ongoing farmer’s market for income generation. I suggest you all offer her a job, if you haven’t already.
Then, last week, it was time to say goodbye to two of my bestie counterparts from Gone Rural. Camille has left behind a trail of heartbroken men (and a heartbroken Isabel) to return to Montreal after six months doing amazing things with Gone Rural’s social media and website. If you haven’t liked our Facebook page, DO IT NOW! and be sure to keep an eye out for our soon-to-be-launched new look website at www.goneruralswazi.com.
Becky, on the other hand, has spent four years in Swaziland and has just one more month (during which I intend to exploit her for as many expedition opportunities as I can), before she heads back to the UK and the option of decent-looking men. During her time here, Becky has worked with four different handicraft companies, on countless collections, leaving behind an unmatched legacy of creativity (granted, I may be biased). I can envisage that, one day, Becky and a band of African artisans will be giving Gucci a run for their money.
On Wednesday, it will be Michiyo’s turn to leave and travel some more before returning back to Japan. Although I have only known her a short time, Michiyo is one of these amazing people who fits in anywhere (in fact, she’s so quiet we often forget she’s there), and likes to challenge the conservative cultural norms of her country in a mature and intelligent way. Oh, and she’s also a homeopath and massage therapist who willingly offers massages. God bless her!
Finally, in two weeks time, I will give my last hugs to Hayley, an intern designer with Quazi Designs who is also leaving the sunshine to head back to an overcast and depressing UK. In her six months here Hayley has developed a number of products for Quazi that were launched recently and is currently representing the organisation at the Design Indaba in Cape Town.
As I read through this list of deserters, I can feel a bubble of mixed emotions forming in my stomach. Naturally, I feel sad: sad to say goodbye to such amazing people with no certainty of when, or if, I will see them again; sad for that tinge of loneliness that I will inevitably experience after they are all gone. However, I can’t help but also feel blessed. In the space of 11 months, I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with so many talented people who, in such short spaces of time and at such early stages in their careers and lives, have so positively impacted on so many lives. If this is the generation to take us into the future, then we’re in luck.