Today marks the beginning of my 6-month countdown to Close of Service. I can’t help but wonder where I will be this time next year. November has shaped up to be a crazy busy month, and I’m feeling good about where I will finish my service. It won’t be quite the cakewalk I was expecting, at least not over the next few months. Of course, December and January are essentially periods of inactivity, so there’s a final hurdle to clear before progress can be realized.
Reaching such a point in my service has left me with fewer reasons for reflection. There is no novelty, because I’ve done everything (twice). The hardship factor has lost its luster and instead serves as a tantalizing reminder of how close the comforts of the US are. Toward the end of her service, I remember my predecessor talking with some local colleagues – they asked her why she wasn’t staying longer, moving permanently to Botswana, and she said simply, “I’m tired.” It’s getting to that point for me as well, and I’m counting my days left of life in the bush: shopping a 2 hour bus ride away, carrying water, living on the poverty line, being constantly dirty, killing millions of giant bugs, using the pit latrine. I’m just tired of it. And I’m sure you are tired of hearing about it.
The bright spots are in my projects, which I’ve learned to navigate well. I’ve recently been in contact with an environmental club that has ambitions to start a fruit orchard. My last bout of tree planting had mixed success, but this attempt promises to be grander and better prepared. I’ve also got my hand in another safe male circumcision campaign, and am hoping the departure of my doctor friend won’t hurt our ability too much. My building project is still among the top things on my list, though final confirmation won’t come for a couple months. I did get a site visit this week from a potential donor. It went well, though there’s still a lot to be done before it can materialize.
Looking forward is competing with the stresses of the present. I have travel plans in the works (Moçambique!!) and graduate school applications to complete. Farther in the future are COS travel plans, which are starting to come into focus – though the final stop is Detroit. There are so many things I want to see, and I only hope my budget can meet the needs of my wanderlust.