Hello Good People,
As of today I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer! Over the past two weeks we have been busy doing various activities and sessions to wrap up our training here in Morogoro. This week specifically we finished up our language training, took our final written and verbal tests, and moved out of our host families back into the training facility; needless to say we have been very busy. Leaving my host family on Monday morning was bittersweet; although we have had our speed bumps along the way I would not have wanted this past three months to go any other way. I am so appreciative to my host Mama Nelly and Dada Kayla for helping me learn the necessary skills to survive on my own here in Tanzania (i.e. how to light a charcoal stove so I don’t starve and how to hand wash my clothes so I don’t smell funny).
Along with my host family I couldn’t have been as well prepared if not for my language/cross cultural facilitator (LCF) Joseph. He worked so well with our group and spent a lot of time listening to our senseless whining and laughing at our dumb American jokes; there’s no amount of thanks that can make up for those things and the time he has put in with us. During our last day of language class we presented him with a card and cake and spent the day recalling the last three months and how far we’ve come since our first day together.
Tuesday night we had a cultural night with the staff we have been working with during our training the past couple months. It was great to spend the evening relaxing with no pressure to speak Swahili or act a certain way, just good old fashion talent show fun. The evening was made better by the fact that we could dress in whatever clothing we would like, so naturally I wore a t-shirt and a pair of shorts (picture below was taken the day after)! We had performances from both trainees and staff most of which included singing weather as a joke or because they actually had talent. We did both facilitator and trainee superlatives and if you know me you know that it couldn’t be more fitting that I won “Most Likely Live Off Peanut Butter at Site”.
Although I am excited to return to my site so I can begin living and integrating in my community (but mostly because I’m excited to stop living out of a backpack), I’m saddened by the thought of leaving all the people that I have spent so much time with the last couple months. Over the course of 23 year(my birthday’s next month so I think it’s safe to round up at this point) I feel I have become fluent in entertaining myself and being alone(being an only child an all), but I have also come to realize that I thrive immensely in environments when I feel close to those around me. I enjoy being surrounded by energy and noise and the thought of living alone is a stage in my life I have both welcomed and feared. I am hoping to use this nervous energy and time alone in a productive way (i.e. actually finding a hobby, figuring out what I wanna do for a career, etc.). But on the flip side I’ve also never lived very far from a support system whether that be family or friends and now my nearest friend is 2 and 1/2 hours away. With all of those thoughts and feelings being said, the true journey is about to begin whether I am ready or not so I guess I better buckle up and hold on tight; welcome to life in Shinyanga.
P.S. because I usually write these posts ahead of time and date them to post later during the day on my Thursday I am currently in the middle of being sworn in while the post is being sent out. That being said I will not have pictures on this blog or my facebook of the ceremony this week…BUT I might break the norm and have a special feature here in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!