She has shed her Africa clothes, leaving them behind in Johannesburg. Her final trip reports are in the works and Charlotte Maxwell is ready to retire.
It's been 22 years since Ms. Maxwell, 65, came to work for the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, on a one-year contract. She retires Nov. 30.
Normally allergic to sentimentality, she recently sat gamely through farewell dinners and tributes during a last official trip to Africa, which took her to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.
Friends and partners presented her with plaques, paintings, cottons, an exquisite sculpture of a creche, and warm farewells.
Everyone who knows her asks what she will do in retirement. "Nothing."
This alarms those who fear doing "nothing" is impossible for someone with her drive. Still, she relishes the thought of waking up each morning not knowing what she will be doing for the next nine hours, the next week, the next three years.
She hopes to study philosophy, but her schedule is open. She will also likely write her memoirs, but would intend them only for her granddaughter.
Charlotte Maxwell came to work for the Anglican Church of Canada in 1980.
The route to 600 Jarvis St., the national office of the church and home to PWRDF (now separately incorporated), may have been predictable. Before then, she had been a public health nurse in downtown Toronto, a fundraiser and board member for a secular development organization, then a rabble rouser, writer and publisher of a newsletter raising awareness on the political situation in South Africa in the late 1970s.
She had volunteered with the development …