Change is always a constant as a missionary. In my years as the coordinator of the clinic I have seen over 500 volunteers come and go. Many of the long term volunteers and the Sisters in the mission have become friends who I miss when they leave. Now after 15 years working with the director of the clinic I have to say good bye to a very good, supportive work partner.
Padre Jorge is returning to Austria to continue his work in his own country. All of us in the clinic will miss him. His founding of the clinic and his unfailing support of all the works and needs of the poor in the clinic have helped us to provide the care we have been giving for the past 15 and a half years.
Father Jorge was so well liked it is like a tomb in the parish and many people are still crying. I have never seen anything like his going away. A town wide party with flowers on white carpets, mariachi bands, singers, dances and food for all. Then a mass that lasted two and a half hours of people giving speeches about how wonderful he is. Then almost an hour of people crying and hugging him good bye. Then the going away lunch with the Sisters and he thought he was done. Well, leaving in the car there were 20 cars going with him and in the two towns he passed through there were hearts made with flower petals on the road and dozens of people crying and hugging him again.
Our job as missioners and clinic workers is to get working to get more volunteers and funding to keep the work that he founded going.