September 10, 2010
Today, there are only 32 of us.
We all knew it would happen, it’s a natural part of Peace Corps, but we never could calculate when or who would be the first. Cattily, we made predictions about who would be the first, but this particular name was never mentioned. It was always an option, but, like many hardships in life, I naively believed we were invincible.
Monday morning, we were informed that one of our fellow trainees has decided to go home for personal reasons. Within about 48 hours of alerting the training director, this person was on a plane back to the United States to resume American life.
And that was it. Now, we are one person less and there is a small hole in the family that we’ve been building for the last two months. I know the trainee made the best decision in order to be happy, but I can’t help but feel like that person died. What hurts most is there will likely be more.
The option to leave, or early terminating once we are volunteers, is now more real than before and, naturally, the absence caused me to look at my own happiness in this country and role. Am I happy here? And I ready for the challenges ahead? And can I make it till September 2010.
Yes, yes and yes. It’s not a huge secret that I was miserable for several months before coming to Niger and that I desperately longed for an adventure. Days here aren’t easy and I am so frustrated with my language progress, but I am content. It’s a challenge most minutes a day, but I thrive in these challenges and am starting to see traits of my best self grow, traits I wasn’t sure I possessed. And as my former boss used to quote from a particular movie about women and baseball, “It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Every day, I find new confirmation that I am supposed to be here. The trainee who left made the best decision for that person, and the best decision for me is to live my life to its full capacity in Niger.
Since this was written, two others have left. Thirty of us were sworn in.