16 June 2012

Learning to Let Go

As I've prepared to leave Uganda, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year and half. My reflections range from personal to specific memories to work to my neighborhood. A lot has happened during this time in Uganda...in my heart (more on that later) and also in my library. It has me thinking about all the things that have been accomplished:
  • Installed computers
  • Cataloged books
  • Shifted books
  • Taught classes
  • Conducted orientations
And the list could go on. And I'm proud of all the work that's been done.

But I can't help but wonder what will happen as I leave.

Don't get me wrong, the librarian we hired is more than capable. But I'm learning that the process of letting go is hard. Letting go of a major project you began (but didn't finish) is extremely difficult. It makes you wrestle with all kinds of things as you let go of control. I was asked to come and computerize the library and it's hard not to wonder if I should have or could have done things differently to have actually finished the process. There are a lot of questions I keep asking myself:
  • Have I put enough processes in place that things won't fall apart when I leave?
  • Have I trained the new librarian well enough?
  • Have I documented everything?
  • Have I done everything I was capable?
  • Am I finishing well?
But the community developer in me knows that leaving is a good thing. It gives someone else a job and lets others have ownership of the library. I know that I have built relationships with people, which is more important than any number of books cataloged. I know I need to trust that things will continue whether or not I am there...to not believe that I am so important that work can't continue without me.

And as I leave, I am choosing to focus on the positive. To focus on what was accomplished. And on all the beautiful people I had the privilege to get to know. They are what made my time wonderful. They are the reason that leaving is so difficult.


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