This morning I left Katete for the last time. For the 3rd time in four months, I stood by the side of the road and waited for a bus coming from Chipata to drive through with an available seat to take me the seven-ish hours to Lusaka. The only difference was this time I had more than a daypack.
This should probably be a sentimental post, but you all know how entirely inept I am at such things.
My last week was a combination of finishing up reports and recommendations while trying to prioritize enjoying the little time I had left in this town.
There were lots of goodbyes to say at work. A last visit to my favourite restaurant to say goodbye to the owners. A last chat with Richard, the owner of the grocery store I go to. A stop by the chip stand who’s super friendly owner still thinks my name is Andrew. An increase in afternoon chats with members of my landlord’s family, regretting not having gotten to know them better. A few final wanders around the market. A last walk home through Chibolya under the stars. An alternating feeling of sadness and relief that the neighbourhood children who yell greetings at me incessantly will soon be a memory.
In many ways, leaving Katete is like leaving any other place I’ve lived. There will be elements—people, places, moments—I miss, and there will be some that I won’t. I won’t idealize it—I spent portions of this summer absolutely loving this town and portions plotting an escape. Sometimes in the same hour. But hey, I’ve done that everywhere I’ve ever lived.
Every place has its charms and its faults. Any place can be home if you decide to think of it that way. I am grateful to have a couple places I’ve called “home” over the years. And I am grateful to be able to add Katete to that list.