The veteran

November 3

While waiting for the shuttle car to take me out to village for my second month, Ari and I sat at the kitchen hostel chatting about the up coming month. I was still the naive newbie and November would be my first full month in village. My nerves were rumbling as they did the first day and I asked Ari, the veteran, if the anxiety of returning to vil would eventually fade.

No, she said.

She also felt uneasy about going back, but for a very different reason than myself. It was her last month.

As I settled into the life of a volunteer, she wrapped hers up. I organized my hostel trunk and added photos of friends and family. She cleaned hers out. Ideas for projects ran with my mind while she plan a COS trip and life after Niger.

She commented on the bizarre feeling of beginning her last month of service and how it’s lack of reality. Other volunteers have left, but it never occurred that one day she would to leave.

For two months, I watched both her and Liz, the two Zinder volunteers from the AG/Health 2008-2010 stag, speak excellent Hausa and maneuver through daily tasks as if there were no language or cultural barriers. For them simple things, don’t really need extra effort.

I’ll never be in that place. I can’t imagine myself in that role of experience and a well-versed Nigerien life.

One day, it’ll be my turn to pawn things off to other volunteers and add the ‘R’ before my PCV title. But that can’t be my focus; I need to run the race instead of picturing the finish line. The only month that matters is the one before me and Liz and Ari, who seemed to have it figured out, once had a second month.

Editor’s Note: This post was written nearly two months ago but it corresponds well with yesterday’s post, which I wrote a few days ago.

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