Saturday, May 19, 2012

happy hellos and sad goodbyes

I’m now well into my third week on Iona and realise that the weekly rhythm is a mixture of hellos and goodbyes as new people arrive on the island and others bid farewell. Guests arrive on Saturday afternoons and depart first thing Friday mornings. In addition, there are always some volunteers leaving and this generally happens on Wednesday mornings – with new replacements arriving during the course of Wednesday afternoons. This provides a strange, but rather lovely, structure to every week. As far as the guests are concerned, we’re meeting up with complete strangers, getting to know some of them quite well (through daily mealtimes and services in the Abbey… and even the odd drink in the bar by the jetty!) and saying goodbye within the space of just six days! For the volunteers, it’s a little different – people are generally on the island for between 8 and 12 weeks (but for some, much longer); this is certainly long enough to develop good friendships and, so, the farewells are often quite emotional affairs!
All available staff and volunteers meet up on the jetty to “send-off” those leaving - this can be a very poignant time for all concerned – guests, staff members and volunteers.
Photo: more jetty farewells (this one for volunteers Janice, Friedhelm and Dennis) – these are just SOME of the volunteers and staff members… the others are “on duty”.

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