Friday, February 21, 2014

So What Am I Supposed To Do Now? And Am I Qualified To Make That Decision?

My head bangs against the metal as we swerve to miss the potholes in the road to only hit smaller ones. It is a feeling that I am all too familiar with. The sun is hitting my arm like the feeling of laying on asphalt on a warm summer day; a sad reminder of what is to come in hot season. When we stop to let a passenger out, the windows quickly fill with women and children selling water, juice, peanuts, cashews, the fruit of the season or phone credit. 12 hours. In my brain it is a long time to stare outside a window but in reality it goes by relatively fast. It is amazing how the human brain is able to drift away from everything that is real once those ear buds are put in place or a book is opened. 12 hours, this is the amount of time that it takes to get from my site to Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, and I know this trip all too well. I only take it if need be, I don’t go up to Dakar just to hang out because of the adventure that I know awaits me.
I was up north for a few different reasons including Close Of Service Conference, the annual All Volunteer Conference, or AllVol as it is commonly referred to, and the West African Intramural Softball Tournament. AllVol always has sessions detailing volunteer projects, career panels or talks with some of the more influential administrators. One of my more favorite sessions that I attended was a session about how to document your service through writing and photography. While I already do both of these things I never studied it in school, I am a mere enthusiast, and I figured I could pick up a few tips and tricks. Describing the scene is something that was pointed out that I don’t think I do enough. How did things smell? What was the reaction of someone’s face after telling the story? What were some of the background noises that we going on at the time? All of these things set the scene for the reader and can put the reader in the shoes of the writer. I though this was great advice, something simple that could be done to make an account of something into a story.
Kolda Region! Our theme was Where's Waldo?
In the beginning of February the Health group along with my group, the CEDers (Community Economic Development), had their Close of Service Conference, which is designed to help with life after Peace Corps. Now lets set the stage, we are surrounded by the people we have known the longest, talking to staff who at least pretends like they are going to miss us and we are talking about the future which for the most part does not include each other. It was sad. Don’t get me wrong, there were happy moments where we all told our favorite stories of each other, first impressions or embarrassing moments but then reality would hit and someone would tear up which only caused a chain reaction. Alexx and I prepared a slide show of our group and while I thought it would be tearjerker it was actually really funny! It is amazing how much we all change over the course of two years, even small things like how long/short someone’s hair is and without looking back on some of those initial memories you don’t even realize it. I will try to get a final slideshow together and post it for you all to see!
As for my second, and last, AllVol/WAIST combo it was everything that I imagined; exciting to see people you never get to see, exhausting always being on the go and sad to be saying goodbye to people that I will probably never see again. Peace Corps had to play in our own league for the softball tournament, again, as we should, and I can actually say there was way more drinking and horse playing than actual softball, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think four official softball games actually happened but the next day it quickly stopped once we were asked to come back at 9am, the morning after the Marine’s Masquerade Ball. We all knew this was not going to happen but we tried to stay positive but when walking back at 4am in a vampire-like cloak that my homestay Megan and I took from a Marine we realized the 9am thing was not going to be happening. 11am rolls around and we finally turn up to the fields and the number of people that were there, already drinking and attempting a game of softball was impressive. There were not enough people to form any team really so it quickly became a game of the north versus the south. Those of us that were not into playing softball after a night of festivities were able to lie in the grass, listen to music and try to take down that first beer, which is always the hardest. We ended up getting kicked off the field resulting in us finding another one and starting a game of kickball. Once everyone was too tired of kickball we just did some more grass laying and beer drinking. Really it was a perfect afternoon. Other than softball and the masquerade ball, as far as Peace Corps sponsored events, there was bowling, pub trivia, and a talent show- Lily, Karen, Alexx and myself had a dance routine again this year along with the Kolda Region performing a K-Pop routine and I am proud to say they were both a hit!
With less than three months left in country I am left thinking, what next? We were told during our Close of Service Conference to do the next thing that interests us. This is where there is a bump in the road. What does interest me? Do I want to teach English abroad for a little bit? Do I want to push papers to try to move up in an organization? Do I want to try and find that perfect dream job that allows me to live abroad with a base somewhere in the states? And if I am going to live in the states there is always the question of where? While I have no idea what I am going to be doing in three months it leaves me with a freeing feeling. I can do whatever I want and I can live wherever I want. Now is the time to actually do whatever interests me. On the other hand after doing what I have been doing for the past two years, and pretty much being away from anything that I consider normal life back in America, am I really equipped mentally to make these hard life changing decisions? As a Peace Corps volunteer, and I am sure most, if not all can relate, you lose all sense of decency in those two years! We eat with our hands, when we shower it is out of a bucket, we are always late to meetings and we narrate every detail of our lives since nobody really understands us. Well, as one may say when talking about guys, I just need Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Forever!




A French Connection Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger