Sanibonani, one last time!
I didn’t expect to feel quite so sad today – I thought this would be a celebration of my time at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT), and all the wonderful family I’ve made here. But rather than feeling grateful and celebratory, I’ve been tearful from the moment I drove into the parking lot this morning and the reality that this is the last time I would be driving in here as a staff member hit me.
I first walked through the door of HACT only two years and seven months ago, having recently moved back home to South Africa after seven years of living and working in London. I came in to offer my services as a volunteer while I made decisions about where I wanted to move next in my career – I couldn’t quite decide which of my many passions to follow! I was certain I wanted to work for a NGO, and that I probably wanted to do work relating to gender or gender-based violence, but I also had a passion for community development, human rights, HIV, economic empowerment, land tenure, the environment, climate change adaption… the list is a long one! But from the first day I began volunteering at HACT, I fell in love with this unique and wonderful place, and the people that make it what it is, and I quickly became determined to join the family here on a full-time basis. Once I set my mind to something, as many of you will know, I tend to get there in the end 🙂
Olivia, you were the first person I met here, and you welcomed me from the first day. You’ve been an inspirational leader, and it’s been a true honour working alongside you. Thank you for your unswerving faith and trust in me, and the opportunities you have given me to grow. We’ve celebrated many joys, and supported each other through many challenging times.
To my team, a huge thank you for the honour of working with you. You have made coming in to work each day something I look forward to, and it’s been an office full of not only hard work but caring and love.
I am walking towards new challenges now at another important and wonderful NGO, the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA), and I take each of you with me in my memories, and in my heart. I know I will see many of you again, and our friendships will continue, but the time of walking alongside each other as we serve each day has come to an end. So it time to say not goodbye, but farewell for now.
Thank you all for the parts you have played in my life while I have been here. Thank you for the laughter, the hugs, the tears, the challenges, the love and friendship, and the opportunities to grow both in my work, and in my being. Ngiyabonga kakhulu.