End of Service
Well, my time here is very nearly at an end. On Monday I’ll begin my trip to the US. Right now, I’m in Dar Es Salaam, taking care of my close-of-service arrangements.
When I last posted, we had just gotten computers in Tandahimba. My assignment was to work with the coordinator of the local TRC, or “Teacher’s Resource Center”, which has a computer lab, to help him use the computers and conduct trainings for local teachers. I did help him with the computers, but he also did a very good job of learning them on his own. He even went and organized and conducted trainings for local teachers on his own! So it was very good to see him taking charge like that, and gives me a lot of hope for the other TRCs that don’t have Peace Corps Volunteers to help out.
I had a few good gatherings with the other local volunteers, including Halloween and Thanksgiving. For Thanksgiving, we each pledged to bring one item of food for the feast; not being able to cook anything even remotely Thanksgiving-related, I just brought a bunch of potato chips. The others outdid themselves, though, and we had an excellent traditional Thanksgiving meal.
We PCVs also spent some time with local JICA volunteers. (JICA is more or less “the Japanese Peace Corps”.) Many of them are better at Swahili than at English, so we had an interesting mix going of English, Japanese, and Swahili, and all had a good time.
My parents have come to visit me, and we’ll go back to the US together on monday. We went to Tandahimba and stayed at my house for about two days, then spent a couple of days at the beach house in Mtwara that I’ve spent so much time at, and now we’re in Dar while I close out my service and get everything ready for my return to the US. So far we’ve been having a great time, they’ve enjoyed seeing Tanzania and the places I live, and of course we’ve enjoyed being together.
During my last couple of days in Tandahimba, I made the rounds and said goodbye to everyone I know there. It was nice to get a chance to do so, and I’m glad to have made so many friends there, but of course it’s sad to be leaving them behind.
My Peace Corps service has been a wonderful, deeply meaningful, and life-changing experience, full of many of the highest highs and lowest lows I’ve ever had, and has caused me to grow in all kinds of ways I never thought I could. I am not eloquent-enough or poetically-inclined enough to do justice to what an experience this has been.
For those of you who haven’t tied yourselves down yet, or who find yourself relatively free later in life, please, seriously consider doing this. You will find that you are much stronger than you think you are, and that although the prospect of serving in a third-world lifestyle is intimidating, it actually isn’t all that hard once you start doing it.