Sunday mornings are my favorite in the village.
Usually, I wake up with the sun, just before 5 a.m. The rising sun and stillness of the community are great running partners and I like to extend my daily run on Sundays. Once back at my home, a concrete structure on a top of hill, I catch my breath while fixated on the color scheme – the sparkling blue sky against the true green trees – and send a thank you into the puffy clouds.
My ‘m’e, or host mother, is now up doing chores and I start my own. I wash my clothes, sweep, mop, wash dishes and cook breakfast all before the turn on the day in America. These are the times when I feel most peaceful about my life here and have absolutely no doubt that it should exist.
This Sunday, though, it’s different.
Training is over, less than two months after I arrived in this country. I’ve met the required proficiency in Sesotho, my teaching capabilities are adequate and my village mates and I put together a decent garden. It’s time to move to the next step.
Around 10 a.m. Monday, or 2 a.m CST, I will be a Peace Corps Volunteer again. ‘Again,’ that is a hard word to type but the last eight weeks have taught me that it is more than a blessing. From that January day in the Morocco hotel when I received a Peace Corps pin and the RPCV title to today on the eve of taking the oath, it has been an intense journey full of emotions. But, when that time comes to pledge myself to America and Lesotho, I will do it with my entire heart. Although I don’t think I did in Niger, I will not take this experience for granted. It really is everything to me.
This Sunday, the village is not as quiet. The women are busy cutting firewood that men have brought in from the mountains and they will start cooking food today. My ‘m’e, and the others in the village, are sporting tightly braided weaves and have bought new traditional clothes. The anticipation of celebration can be felt in every ‘Lumela’ or hello. The party is Monday, they say.
Yes, tomorrow will be a day to celebrate. For me, it’s the end of a very long journey, one that was never supposed to happen. Yet, it also marks the beginning of another, one that was always meant to happen.