Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Final Photo: Month 39 (June 2014)

On the 26th of June 2014, after 1,182 days as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I closed my service. This was a day full of intense emotions. It was a time to reflect and rejoice over these last three years. It was a time to be proud. Because, as our Country Director pointed out, we were now part of an elite group - RPCVs - and there are less of us than there are Fulbright Scholars.

At our COS ceremony, staff said words of thanks and encouragement to myself and the two other Bots 10s that ended their service alongside me. As the last three of our group to COS, it was a special time for us all. I was moved by the kind words that the staff shared but one staffer's words will stay with me as the most profound. He said:
"Tija, I want to thank you for showing the staff here the value of working with Peace Corps Volunteers. Before you, it was just something we said was important but now, because of the good work you have done and how much you have helped us grow and get stronger as a team, we look to volunteers in everything we do. You had a way of coming in with your positive attitude and good humor - we would laugh and that would break the ice - and then we could accomplish so much more. Thank you for showing us the great value you all have. You made that possible for us."
Wow.

So, with that, I present the final photo in this photo reflection series, taken just after we rang the bell and closed our service. The final three Bots 10s alongside the staff of Peace Corps Botswana.

The End
I will forever cherish this team and my entire service. Thank you.

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