I’ve just gotten back to site after a month away and one thing is certain – I will never leave for that long again. At the end of August all of the education volunteers headed to our mid-service conference (MSC) which meant we were officially through with one ear of our Peace Corps service. The conference was more of a check up than a training – we discussed our projects at site and went through a series of medical exams.
The last day of our conference I had a flight home for a two and a half week vacation. It was the perfect amount of time to see family, go to a cousin’s wedding, visit friends, and eat all the food I’ve been missing over the last 14 months.
Getting back to Burkina felt the same as landing in the U.S. – like no time had passed at all. I was thrown right back to work setting up for a big fair to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Along with the searing of 47 new volunteers, September 22nd kicked off a 3 day long fair in downtown Ouaga. Volunteers showcased their work at site with various partner organizations, theater troupes and women’s groups The first day also signified the end of 1800 kilometers of the 2nd annual bike tour. The fair was an exhausting few days of early mornings, but looking back we pulled off a pretty incredible event. We were lucky enough to have the Prime Minister and the first lady at our opening and closing ceremonies., as well as a personalized song written by one of Burkina’s top singers. Here are the links to some videos put together by some members of our fair committee, the volunteer action committee, and our IT committee.
The good thing about the fair was that it gave me something to keep busy doing immediately after getting back. The downside was that I didn’t get back to my village until after a full week of being back in country. I returned exhausted, but luckily Navielgane is one of the best places to re-cooperate after the busy summer of traveling that I’ve had. Since getting back, I’ve had a couple of meetings with a group that I started and am in talks with another organization about bringing electricity (read: car batteries hooked to a solar panel) to a building in my village.
In some ways the time away was what I needed to re-motivate myself to get going on projects in my community that I’ve thought about since arriving. As all of the new volunteers headed off to their villages this week, I almost felt as if I was one of them – going back to village with new eyes so to speak. On the other hand, (no offense to them) I’m so glad I’m not in that position. Heading into meetings and going to the market by myself this week, I realized how far I’ve come in a year. With my confidence in my language skills alone, I never would have been able to do some of things a year ago that are daily interactions now. Hopefully this little burst of motivation carries through as the new school year starts next week and throughout the next 10 months or so that I have left here!
As always, thanks to everyone who is still keeping up with my blog!