The idea for this post is stolen from my friend Diana, a PCV in Cambodia who is also a Music Ed Graduate.
It’s hard checking out the PCV blogosphere and seeing that the blogs I followed fervently as an applicant are no longer active for many reasons the PCV either ETd (Early terminated) or was medically separated (could not complete their service for medical reasons). It’s difficult seeing those who guided you through the application process and whetted your appetite for all things Peace Corps are no longer involved.
- My Village. It’s not perfect, it has practically nothing but I really enjoy living there with my neighbors, my cat, and most of the villageois. It’s calm and peaceful. I also feel truly integrated. You know when that happens when the Pagb Naaba (chief of the women) asks you to go as one of the representatives for the National Forum on Women in Ouaga. (I respectfully declined and said that I would be busy with reading camp, and I thought that it would be better if she took a village woman, as it would be more sustainable.)
- I’m not finished yet. I’m about halfway through my service and I am so excited see what this year brings. I finally know who the chefs d’opinion (important people with village who have large spheres of influence) are and who to talk to to get projects moving. It’s a new school year and I have a bunch of project ideas, and now that everyone sort of understands what I am doing after a year they want to include me.
- Going home=couch potato. If I went home all I would do would be to sit on the couch and become a tv-watching zombie. I used to watch so much TV in the states, but now I don’t really miss it that much. (okay I missed the Olympics but apparently the NBC coverage was pretty awful and I had BBC world service at site). I don’t want to do that. I know I couldn’t sit on my butt for very long, but I don’t have anything lined up right now at home.
- The Stars. This may seem lame but I have never seen more beautiful stars in my life. At my house I can see all the constellations (including Southern hemisphere ones) and even the Milky Way. There is almost no light pollution in my village and stargazing is a delight. There’s something so calming going out to your latrine to pee and looking up and realizing how small you are compared to the universe out there.
- I sincerely love my job. Yes. There are some frustrating moments, but this summer has been fantastic with camps, vacations and other fun activities. I completely agree with the old PC slogan, “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love.”
- Adventures. Marauding at the Mask Festival, shenanigans in Ouaga, playing the PCV card and getting ex-pats to buy you drinks, gallivanting around Ghana, Mexican fiestas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s in Yako (Heck anything in Yako,) 3 person games of Hearts, biking everywhere. I know that adventure comes with the job. Ok, so I haven’t done anything super crazy like some other PCVs back in the day (sneaking off to other countries, getting shot at, and almost gored to death by baboons) but I still have time.
- There’s anything at home to go running back to. I don’t have a significant other at home. Sure I’ve missed family simchas, and I was 6000 miles away when family members experienced dramatic health status changes and that was really challenging, but I have never desperately wanted to go home. I do get homesick. I miss my parents’ cooking. I miss my friends. I feel like this is completely normal, but not one of them has said Sara, come home. They are surprised that I won’t be back until 2013, but now that doesn’t seem so far away.
- Regret. (I share this last one with Diana). If I left I’m pretty sure that if I left I would regret it for the rest of my life. I have had so many positive experiences here and I signed up for two years in Burkina and I plan on finishing it.