Its been a while.
In fact, it has been exactly one year to the day that I “got my R,” which means that I officially got to call myself a returned peace corps volunteer (RPCV) instead of simply a peace corps volunteer (PCV). Its kinda a big deal. At least to the people in country still having massive pizza cravings. I thought that you might want to know a little bit about what has been going on in Cookie-town, and maybe even with me this past year.
I started out my life as a returned PCV by getting onto a plane and flying to….Morrocco. Sorry Mom! Pam and I had an amazing adventure seeing some of the beautiful sights and cities. We went shopping in a bazar, explored some Roman ruins, walked through a mountain side city, rode camels through the Sahara (I managed to fall off. Yes, it hurt), visited a local PCV, got sick from eating too many apricots (worth it), went to a beach on the Mediterranean, and even got to visit some filming locations from Game of Thrones (which is exciting to approximately no one but us). Overall, an astounding adventure.
|They let you touch the ruins :)|
|The offending caramel|
|Khalessi was here!|
And then Pam went back to cookie town to do even more astounding things.
Remember that library project that you helped me out with? Well, Books for Kids Africa expanded the project, and Pam completely went all out. There is now a whole tutoring program at the elementary school library. High school students who have been taught how to be tutors are now teaching elementary school students to read Portuguese. I wish I could share with you how much it means but it would simply devolve into adjectives and capital letters. To put it simply, future PCVs teaching secondary school will be much more effective when their students can speak and read Portuguese.
Not only did she run this tutoring project, she also ran the local AND provincial science fairs.
In other news, Pam is a super hero. And she got her “R” yesterday! And now she is coming home. I'm so excited to get to see her again!
Speaking of home, I now present some frequently asked questions from my return:
How are you?
I was awesome. Then not so much. But I’m pretty good now. Coming back is complicated.
What are you doing with your life?
I’m currently living in Norfolk, Virginia studying Medical Laboratory Science. I finish up on December third!
So….what is Medical Laboratory Science?
You know how there is a nice person who draws your blood, and a nice doctor who tells you what is wrong? There is a middle man who takes that blood, runs a bunch of tests, and gives the results to the doctor. I will be that middle man.
Did you start crying the first time you saw a cereal aisle in the grocery store?
Surprisingly no. I really expected this to happen. Though in my own defense I have not actually bought cereal since I came back.
Aren’t you glad you came back before Ebola?
1. EBOLA IS NOT IN MOZAMBIUQE. The whole of Europe is closer to ebola then my friends.
2. Though if Ebola did somehow reach Moz, the results would be devastating. And that is very scary.
Though it has been interesting attempting to talk to people about how a virus like Ebola thrive in the third world due to just enough infrastructure to allow that virus to travel but not enough to be able to contain it.
How are Thelma/Adelino/your puppy?
Everyone is actually do really well! Thelma is continuing to go to school, and Adelino is living in the city and going to University to become a teacher. I am extremely proud of him! The puppy, after a slight health scare, is also quite happy.
Then there is my least favorite question. One that I thankfully haven’t been asked many times:
Did you love it?
No. Yes. Maybe? It is such an outstanding complicated question. Those of you that have read this blog know how up and down my entire experience was. Yes, I loved watching the faces of my students as they learned, and did well at English theater competition. I didn’t love seeing the face of poverty and the diseases and lack of human rights that go with it. I loved seeing different cultures, through their dances and foods and ceremonies, but hated seeing the culture of poverty which shows itself in misogamy and blatant corruption. I loved making friends with the children that came to my yard to play, but hated it when they died.
And while we are on a slightly depressing note (because, after all, it wouldn’t be a peace corps blog without at least ONE depressing paragraph) we will go with:
How was it coming back?
The only answer I have to that is... hard. It is hard coming back to a country where things are so good. Where the struggles shifts from will I be able to find clean water to people dying of heart attacks from their high stress jobs in their massive homes. It is hard becoming once more part of this type of stress, and I get angry at myself every time I start to panic about trying to find a job after school. It is hard coming back to a country that has been the epitome of perfection in your mind for two years, but isn't actually perfect. Politicians are still courrupt, though in different ways. Bosses and teachers can still be horrible people. Poverty exists and is so easy to be trapped in. Life isn’t fair.
But there is a flip side to all the difficulties of coming back. And that is the
chipotle wonder of coming back.
There are the obvious things: running water, a loving family, high speed interntet, chipotle ect.
But I have been making a list of the things that I didn’t even realize that I had missed until I came back:
- Carpet. What’s more wonderful then walking barefoot on carpet? Nothing.
- Food….whenever you want it. Is it after dark and you need a tomato? No problem. Do you want something other then green pepers, onion and tomato? No problem. Do you want ice cream that you don’t have to make and then wait 24hours for it to freeze? No problem. Are you hungry and don’t feel like cooking? No problem.
- Life without bugs and bats and other creepy crawlies everywhere. I just kinda got used to it.
- Hair conditioner
- Libraries. There are whole BUILDINGS just filled with books for you to look at.
- Gym Classes
- Being outside after dark
- Campfires with no purpose except smores aka fires that aren't simply for burning trash
- Windows that close correctly
And I know this was on the obvious list. But Chipotle. Oh my goodness. I forgot how absolutely amazing Chipotle was.
And so that’s it. It has been a year since I left Mozambique. I really can’t believe it. Thank you, everyone who has gone on this journey with me. Your love, prayers, and thoughts have meant more then you know.
And so, one year later.