Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Message To Soon-To-Be-Volunteers: The Peace Corps Tale

A brilliant poem that shares the tale of a Peace Corps Volunteer perfectly. And, with that, I bid my Peace Corps service adieu.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The End Is The Next Beginning

My Peace Corps service is a story about overcoming adversity, rising to challenges, being grateful for small victories and good fortune, welcoming change, and accepting love. It was transformative in both the way I approach work and approach life. These three years have inspired me to continue living to help others and have showed me that I can make a difference through laughter, patience, grit, and determination. While my parents always told me that I could do anything, I finally believe it myself. And I do it with an overwhelming sense of love.

The work here in Botswana is not ending for me but rather is taking a different spin. While I have closed my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I have recently been offered a full-time contractor position to help bring the lessons of my service to other volunteers and support them through their own transformations in order to find satisfaction in their service. So, for the next year, I will be piloting a new staff position at our post, acting as a Volunteer Support Liaison.

In addition to overseeing PCV committees, the PCVL program, and Third Year Extension Volunteers, my role as the Volunteer Support Liaison will be to offer overall support and guidance to volunteers as they face challenges throughout their service. This will be multi-faceted, acting with both the programming and training teams, but will focus primarily on helping volunteers integrate, navigate complex issues, and ultimately perform their jobs better. This is a job I believe I can do well and, with any luck, will prove to benefit our entire Peace Corps program here.

The decision to prolong my stay in Botswana for an additional six months (year in total) was made with careful consideration of many factors - family, friends, a desire to reconnect with my home country, and the potential impact here, among others. It was a hard decision and one that was not hastily made. I had to reflect and look at impact, for myself and others, in making this decision.

I believe greatly in the work Peace Corps is doing in Botswana and I feel extremely fortunate to have been chosen for a position that I believe will prove vital in assisting and enhancing the work Peace Corps Volunteers do every day. This is my chance to come full circle and fulfill the needs as best I can in every avenue I can here. It can be my last gift to Peace Corps Botswana for all the many blessings it has bestowed upon me. I will take all of the lessons of my service and impart them to the 80 new trainees who are arriving in a month and to all those serving volunteers, thereby expanding my reach (and my love for development work) across Botswana in an even more meaningful way. That, in and of itself, is an incredible opportunity. In the end, though, it was a personal decision that I think will help make the next steps in my life all the sweeter.

This next step will be the beginning of a bright and beautiful future. And, yes, one that will eventually bring me back stateside and then maybe abroad once more. For now, the ending of my Peace Corps Volunteer service is also where I start my new beginning...