I’ve been doing a great job of mentally blocking out the fact that Fernanda is leaving, but today it finally reached the point where I couldn’t ignore the truth anymore. Her flight is late tonight, so she left here right after lunch. Being here feels like a time warp, so whenever something happens that makes it clear that time has passed, it’s a little jarring. When we got here, Fernanda still had a month left. Thinking about a month felt like a lifetime, but now here we are. I’ve been here for a month (!!!), and Fernanda’s two months are up. It really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.

Front row – Avy, Fernanda, me Back row – Nico, Amber, James, Evans, Sosane

Saying goodbye to Maria was hard, but at least there were still five of us left. With Fernanda gone, all I can think about is how Nico, Amber, and Sosane are next. I know I shouldn’t focus on that, but right now, it’s hard to push it out of my mind.

Before lunch, Fernanda and I did one last lap around the town so she could say goodbye to some people and we could have a little time together. Then we ate, took a farewell picture in front of the house, and she started give out goodbye hugs. I was determined to hold it together, but let’s be real… I obviously cried, went into the house to pull myself together, and cried again as she was getting on the tro. And then that was it. She was gone, we walked back to the house, and I convinced myself that she was probably coming back in a day or so.

Everyone being sad that Fernanda is leaving, except Sosane who apparently missed the sad face picture memo

The rest of the day (after I stopped crying… come on, pull it together, Lara!) was just spent around the house until about 4:30 when we went to keep working on our poop hole (a hole for the pig poop to be stored and converted into fertilizer). We were there for probably 45 minutes before Avy showed up with a whole pack of kids and three volunteers from Gold in tow (they’re visiting the waterfalls this weekend and are staying at our house). Apparently the kids led the group to the farm (why the kids know how to get there is beyond me), and as soon as everyone showed up, our productivity went to about zero. One of the kids did help us out a lot by using a machete to chop up a root that was blocking our way. He originally gave the machete to me, but after I did about three hits, he shook his head, took it from me, and completely destroyed the root in about 10 seconds. The kids here really know how to use their farm tools.

We stuck around the farm for maybe 20 more minutes before the group made its way back to our house for dinner. Afterwards, we sat around and talked until bedtime. Fun fact – the girl from Gold went to my high school. Small world, right? We graduated 7 years apart, so we don’t know any of the same people, but it’s still pretty cool. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to talk about something familiar when you’re so used to everything being new and different.

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