With 4 months left in my 27 month service, there have been a lot of feels going on all at once ranging from happiness to sadness, back to elation and then back down to sadness. For the past two years, Ethiopia has been my home and the people here both locals and fellow volunteers have been a part of my new life. How do you say goodbye to that? How do you say to the children in your compound “thanks for the memories and I’ll see you in 10 years?” How do you show through actions asham (I appreciate you)? How do you express yourself to those back home everything you learned and how much you changed in 27 months in a matter of a few minutes? It’s physically not possible.
Teaching when you have 4 and a half months is just as hard to describe. Some days are bittersweet and others are like sweet chocolate going down after a long few months of not having any. Projects are almost impossible since the second semester are filled with holidays, entrance exams for grade 12 students and national exams for grade 10 students. Honestly, being a teacher in your second year of service is just hard. By the end of the first school year, you are worn out and demoralized. There were so many ideas and projects that you wanted to complete that you never got around to doing. Sometimes, it’s easier to get agitated at things faster than you would normally because you know that you wouldn’t be dealing with any of that mess back home. You start thinking of the comforts of home, the American lifestyle with all of its’ abundance and overall, you start to get anxious to get back to the life you used to know.
Fortunately or unfortunately for some, you start to reflect on the changes that you have gone through, both good and bad, and hope that the people back home would be fine with the new you. You want acceptance of the new person you have become because you are no longer the person you were when you left for Peace Corps. You are both excited and a little scared of having to bear all and step into the scary world.
It’s in those moments that I turn to friends who help to remind me that I am lovable and accepted just the way I am. People are the ones who remind you just how important you are and how cherished your time is. And in a country that goes out of its way to make things hard for you, with people who constantly ask what you can give to them or how to take them to America – it’s nice to know that you matter.
I came to Addis Ababa because I had an interview with the CDC for a potential two year Public Health Program (PHAP) in the States through Skype. It is the last step before announcements go out anywhere between Mid July to Late August and people find their host sites. To prepare for my interview, I had Chelsey ask me the most common interview questions and I answered. It helped to practice but it did little to calm my fears. The Peace Corps has been my dream for the last 7 years and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been my dream for the last 5 years. I fight for what I want and I hope that my fight was just as hard as it was for the Peace Corps. The questions asked tested me on my logic, reasoning, teamwork abilities and decision making. I left feeling happy with both my answers and myself. Whatever the result, it’s out of my hands.
With 4 months left, I feel stronger and more confident. There must be something in the water. Thank you Peace Corps Ethiopia, for the opportunities both in-service and out-of-service that I have been given and will receive. No matter the struggles faced, the feeling that is most prominent is: gratefulness.