Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Extension Granted!

Despite incessant (and inconvenient) water and power outages, hairy spiders, ant hordes, insane temperatures, and thorns in my shoes, I love it here. Yes, I said it, I love Botswana. I have fallen in love with the simple life in the village and with international development work. Although I had a hunch before coming here that this might be the case, there really was no way for me to predict how deep my love would be. And, honestly, my trials at the beginning definitely pointed more towards "enmity" than "love". But this love has grown from frustration and disappointment and perseverance and is likely stronger because of it. It is like your favorite romantic comedy movie - girl wants to find love, girl sets out to find it, girl is angry with and/or hates what is set in front of her (usually a guy, in this case the work), girl fights it, girl feels like all hope is lost, girl has a realization or transformation, girl flirts with the thing she once resented, and finally girl realizes it's the only thing for her. I didn't think this sort of romance happened in real life. But, like many people before me, I have been surprised by the way things turn out. This could very well be the tale of my pursuit and my love of international development work.

But I made it! I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, my heart flickered, and I got a warm fuzzy feeling with every person who learned something from me and with every organization that ran a little smoother. And that is why, with a joyous heart and an excited mind, I announce that my application for extension was granted! I have been given the opportunity to continue pursuing this love and see where the next phase in the journey takes me!

For my extension year ("third year"), I am assuming two roles:
In my first role, I will be working with Project Concern International (PCI). PCI is an international non-governmental organization that currently operates in 16 countries to promote sustainable change and community development. I will be working directly with two projects funded by USAID - one for orphans and vulnerable children and the other for integrated childhood and youth development. In this capacity, I will get the opportunity to oversee and manage high level projects that I am passionate about, work alongside leaders in their field, and also continue doing some field work with PCI's 10 implementing partners across Botswana. 
In my second role, I will be acting as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL). The role of a PCVL is multifaceted and includes: working with Peace Corps staff to assess organizations and villages for successful site development; mitigating issues between staff, volunteers, and host country nationals; assisting with regional support issues; designing and conducting trainings for incoming volunteers; liaising for Peace Corps Botswana, connecting staff with volunteers; and informing current PCVs about available resources to better assist their host country agencies. I am passionate about Peace Corps' mission and believe that every volunteer deserves the best chance to make the most of their service. I am thrilled to have the chance to put my magnanimous experience to work in helping serving volunteers.
I am overwhelmed and excited about the potential for personal growth and the opportunity to continue doing good work at an even greater magnitude in these new roles. To me, it is my perfect placement. I have incredible hopes for this country, its people, and the work Peace Corps is doing. I know these hopes are achievable because, time and again, my dreams in this country have come true. I am honored to have the opportunity to stay here one more year to see that continue to happen.

1 comment:

  1. WOW. that sounds like quite the load you have there, though I'm sure you'll do great. Not sure if you're tired of hearing this from me yet, but CONGRATS!!!!!!