Ale just woke up - but another family portrait!
It's 6am and I've been up for about an hour and a half whiling away my last few moments in Rome. The distinct smell of baby spit is permeating something.. I can't figure out if it's my hair or my sweater. Spending 2 days away from sometimes screaming, sometimes smiling and always charming Asia really broke my heart for some reason. I missed her so much while I was away and I am sad to know that I probably won't see her for at least another year and a half. By then, she'll be an entirely different creature, but I was glad to have known her and will do my best to be a good friend/auntie while she grows up.
I was also really excited to see Mahimbo and Ale. It reminds me how important it is to keep up relationships with friends, even if they're all over the world.
waiting outside for a taxi
The amazing conversations with Mahimbo and also watching Ale change and evolve as a mother have been absolutely priceless.
But the one thing that I always return with from visiting Mahimbo and Ale are how the rest of the world views the U.S. So much of what we do here in the states has reprecussions around the world. For example, Mahimbo and Ale get paid in dollars since they work for the U.N. There is a slight currency adjustment, but for the most part, they have watched their paychecks shrink and shrink. The rest of the world frequently budgets based on our consumption and economy. It's really a frightening thing.
And of course there's that last thing which is hope. Mahimbo and Ale have this intense ability to make me believe that I am not alone even though they are by far my furthest friends on this planet.
Mahimbo has already invited me to his office in Central African Republic to help with economic analysis and data collection, which is more or less what I do now. Their funding is much improved when they can demonstrate with numbers how spending in a particular sector can impact child mortality or education or sustainability. I have no doubt I will take him up on his offer this winter. All the programmes in the world that I was planning on applying to and attending (and paying thousands of dollars for) are no match for the hands on work that I will be able to do under Mahimbo. I'm pleased to hear about the extensive training the UN gives their employees. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to volunteer with him. I have so much to look forward to when I return, and will hoard vacation days like mad!
Well.. must finish packing. I just needed to capture a few sentiments while I'm still on Roman soil. =)