Sunday, March 10, 2013


Dumi and Mario
Last night we delivered the Toyota Camry we have been driving for the past six years to its new owner: Dumisani.

It was after a day (a week - a month) filled with non-stop activity of saying goodbye before we leave South Africa.

Mario and I are staying with the Wiggills (Terry and Bonnie) before we board a plane on Wednesday; our house is a mass of boxes and crates, a state of disarray that is unlivable.
Back to last night - we had arranged to drop off the car with Dumisani so Terry lent us his bakkie (pickup)  to do it.

Dumisani, Dumisani, Dumisani!  That's how I greeted him for years.  His name means "Praise" - specifically to God.  His mother, when he was born praised God for a fine young boy to carry on the family name, his life became a praise to God.

We met him and his wife Monica when we first got here.  Monica and I clicked, fought,  feasted and hung like real gal-pals; hailing from different cultures that made us always love but never fully understand one another.

Dumi and Mario had a steady, Men-of-God relationship.  When it was time for us to have a service in Diepsloot, Dumi and Mario teamed to reach the community with the Gospel; the full Gospel. We worked side-by-side, strategized and hosted many events together.   For all who have built a church, you understand the day-to-day bonding that becomes teamwork and friendship at the same time.  Prayer takes on a new level; faith is a shared something.

Six years of close friendship; not just obligation, but friendship that endured the highs and lows that all friendships go through. When Monica died last year, we all grieved deeply together....

Last night we said goodbye.

We handed off the keys to the car and insisted we would be back; he would come to us; this was just "see you later"...etc, etc, etc.

I kissed the top of the kids heads and made my way back out to the car.

"Are you leaving this week?" Timna, Dumi's five year old daughter asked me.

"Yes, honey," I smiled.  I have learned how to smile during goodbyes.

"Will you come back?" Lebongo asked.

"Definitely this year," I said.  God willing....

Dumi walked us out to the car, his figure lit up by the street lamp in front of his house.  I turned back to say goodbye, lifting my hand to wave.  I saw him - in my mind's eye I still see him - lit up and waving.

We drove back to the house, wordless.  Tears on our faces.

These goodbyes are killing me.


  1. I hear you, Janet. Goodbyes are difficult and they seem to get harder all the time. When I left Madagascar I remember one of the kids saying to his mom, "Well, uncle Rob will never be back ... Guess that's the last time we'll see him then." I went back for a visit as soon as I could just to try to show him that goodbye isn't forever. We'll miss you and your laugh around these parts!

  2. Thanks, Robin!! You are so right! P.s. Hennie was asking for your number the other day...can you inbox it to Rita?