So as 2012 is drawing to a close, I decided to fill out an end of the year questionnaire (This idea was stolen from a fellow PCV, Rachel G.)
Questions adapted from http://grandlifesolutions.com/blog/goals/top-ten-year-end-review-questions-2/
1. What are your proudest successes and accomplishments from this year?
Working 4 camps, stepping in and filling an immediate need to teach CE1 in my village and having villageois tell me that they appreciate it, taking a stand against open defecation in my village, teaching women how to make liquid soap, having an 88% pass rate for the CEP exam at my assigned primary school, organizing the cultivation of 1000 moringa saplings, writing and getting a grant approved for a school garden
2. What did you learn and/or gain insight into?
No matter how much you plan things can still go horribly wrong. Always look on the bright side of life. Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff. When you think you’re at the end of your rope, you’re not. It’s okay to say no. Success can be defined in many ways. Peace Corps is primarily a cultural exchange.
3. What slowed you down or stood in the way of fulfilling your intentions?
People not holding up their end of the bargain, people not picking up their phones, people dropping the ball, working and living in a developing country, lack of support and motivation from community members.
4. What supported you in your growth and success?
My PCV and Ex-pat friends, our PC Burkina Staff, my “Village Dad” Tidiane, my cat, and other positive members of my community were all very supportive.
5. What was challenging and disappointing this year?
Many things…Having several opportunities for projects collapse entirely or be completely prevented from doing them. Seeing the lack of motivation from some members of my community, being sick, bullying, lack of professionalism from co-workers, and finally, cultural differences between Americans and Burkinabé.
6. How consistent is your work with your deepest values? Are you doing work that most aligns with your soul purpose?
I feel that my work as a PCV truly aligns with my deepest values. I truly believe in sustainable grassroots development, and hopefully I can turn that into a career opportunity, or financially support organizations who believe in this kind of work. I strongly believe in the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, or mending the world, and I feel that Peace Corps is a great way to do that, while engaging in a cultural exchange.
7. What are you grateful for?
So many things! My parents, my PCV friends, my village friends, my friends back home, our PC Burkina Staff, malaria prophylaxis, care packages, care package food, the OHG Poste, reliable internet
8. What was missing in your life this year? What feels unfinished? What would you like to complete in the year ahead?
I didn’t get romantically involved with anyone, but I think that would be really stressful. Also, I feel like I can’t put my best foot forward in a relationship here. It’s already a very stressful job, and I would not want to bring that stress into a relationship with someone and then have it complicate things. I’d like to complete the school garden, and see my community grow even more and complete my service as a PCV. Finally I hope to apply and get accepted into a good grad school program and get some more relevant work experience:
9. How can you bring more love, joy, and harmony into your life?
How do to that with my limited resources? Harness the power of positive thinking and a positive mental attitude!
10. What nonessentials are in your life that can let go of right now?
I live in a developing country with many non-essentials and I’m in the Peace Corps, I think I’ve let go of a lot.
How about a BONUS question
11. What grand intentions have you set for the year ahead?
To make the most of my remaining time here in BF and to touch as many lives as I can before I leave. Also, ideally a killer COS trip or vacation to somewhere I’ve never visited before.