|Annie with the other VVF patients at their Dress Ceremony|
I've tried to figure out what made our time together special. What made me come away from each visit glowing on the inside. And I think it is best summed up by Mother Theresa:
"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."
|Annie telling her story at the Dress Ceremony|
I am finding it difficult to express how happy I am for Annie that she is starting her journey home; even though her leaving makes me sad. I understand that she lives beyond Impfondo and that she was one of a group of women that took canoes over three days down the river and then flights to get to the ship. I can't even imagine the courage it must have taken to begin that trip. I can't even comprehend what Annie must think about our ship and how different it is from her village. The main thing I think about though, is how absolutely fantastic it is going to be when she finally goes home to her husband - whole again.
As she walked down the gangway for the final time today in a new dress, I wished I could have captured the moment. She's spent almost a month in a hospital gown and she looked so bright and happy - like a new woman. In some respects she is.
Annie will be at the Hope Center for outpatients for a few days yet. She has her final check up on Monday morning at 0800. It will be my last chance to say goodbye and "Bon courage mon ami. Je prier pour toi. Au revoir." I know it is unlikely that we will ever cross paths again but I am thankful that we had this time together - it has changed my thoughts on friendship and love forever. Please continue to pray for my beloved friend, Annie.