One of biggest fears about Lesotho is going through training again. Training sucks.
In the military, training is meant to break you down so they can build you back up into what they want you to be, or so I’ve been told. Now, I would never compare Peace Corps training to that of the Marines, or any branch of the military, but nonetheless Peace Corps training is not easy.
Adjusting to a new culture, group of people and a redefined version of yourself is hard. In Niger, language was such a struggle that each day I felt broken because I couldn’t accurately say that I was no longer hungry. Each night, I count down to Sept. 23, when I would be a volunteer and able to set up a real life in Niger.
So, I have worried about training the second time. The only former Lesotho volunteer I’ve been able to contact was an evacuee and he told me, “It was one of the hardest things in the world to go back through training. You will compare everything and get sick of training very very fast.”
Thursday marked an year since I arrived in Niger. Missing the desert and those who inhibit it, I looked through my photo albums to try to reconnect to that time that now feels so far away.
But when I look at these photos, and others, I don’t think about that frustration. I remember the first storm in Niger, biking to Bartchwalla, the comfort of seeing my stagmates after language immersion, team Hats, trips to Niamey on the weekend, the GAD auction, the talent show during consolidation, drinking our first beer together in the Philly airport, sitting by the lake, junk food and card games, watching “Rescue Me” until the wee hours of the morning and the dance party the night of our swear-in ceremony. Sure, there was lots of studying and flip charts, but it was special. Training is the foundation for the next two years for what you learn, the relationships you develop and who you become.