Sunday, November 21, 2010

The end?

Is it coincidental that the end of my volunteer service with the peace corps lines up with thanksgiving? I want to reflect on the things i am thankful for, highlight major lessons learned and things that happened. Maybe in the near future, i will be able to do this, but right now, i cannot. I can bend my knee 100 degrees, make my way to the kitchen and slowly prepare something to eat. I have to stop and rest after a few minutes. My days consist of blood testing, physio therapy, the odd paper gathering and question asking. Worries about a visa, short-term health and my future are looming. My family can't wait for me to return, but i am less than excited. It's not what i planned, to break my leg and leave south africa before my time. Why am i upset?

I am staying in a cozy guest house with running water, helpful staff, other injured volunteers and free breakfast every day. I have all my medical needs taken care of, and even transportation provided by my organization. But i would trade it in a heartbeat for my house in the Kalahari with the tin roof, resident bat, harsh sun and wind, and batswana neighbors. My language barriers, overworked and undermotivated colleagues, lazy municipalities, lack of funding and physical challenges seem like a dream compared to this current life, with television and air conditioning.

I miss my weekend visits from my sweetheart, my daily visits from kids in the village, going to school to face whatever new challenges arose that week. I miss my friend in my village, the one person i could share secrets and my lunch with, and she could appreciate both.

I miss being a helpful, valuable asset to my communities, and my fellow peace corps volunteers. I guess that's what is so upsetting. Now, instead of helping lots of people do lots of different things, i can barely even help myself. I've never been so helpless or hopeless. It's hard to imagine being able to walk again, to not be apart from my sweetie, or what will happen in the next few days, even. But i'm trying. Life threw me a big curveball, and even though i tripped and fell, i try not to stay down for too long at one time.


  1. Well, I can certainly appreciate that you are trying to find your "Happy Place" in the midst of a situation that would make even the most tollerant person nervous. Knowing what it's like to feel helpless and away from everything you've grown fond of is a feeling I know quite well. I hope that you stay positive and know everything in life is only temporary. I feel as though you are being sent to the US to heal and re cooperate. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have missed you terribly, and am sorry for the circumstances surrounding your return, but am ever so grateful to know my son will be able to meet you and remember you and love you as much as we do!!!

  2. Hi Jenneffer,

    Suspect that you're already en route home, but just wanted to say how much I've valued being able to share your experiences in Africa via this blog. And I'm sure this is not "the end" for you --- but rather a "new beginning," no matter what you choose to do now. But take care of yourself for a bit first!