Life is funny. As human beings we are always looking to adjust to changes and our environment, no matter how different or unusual it may be. That sense of home, as I have come to find out, is essential to living. Otherwise, we feel lost .When I was growing up, home was where my parents lived; in college, it was my college town and here in Guinea, it’s Siguiri. With an official PC year under my belt (15 months) that sense of home has begun to establish itself. But like with anything in life, the moment we feel settled and more-or-less content, is when we start to question ourselves. The thrill and excitement of being in Africa and living this new life has started to fade as I come to realize that this is just my life now.
I am settled in, thus begins the fatigue. I should say that fatigue is not necessarily a bad thing in this case. Like I said, it means that I have grown accustomed to my surroundings, which is vital to any PCV. It means that all that first-time experiences of being in Africa are more or less done with and now, I am just living my life. Volunteer fatigue is a real thing, just ask any PCV. It isn’t really about the people, city or country you are in, but more about where you stand in life, at least in my case. Since life moves slower here, fatigue isn’t used in the same sense as in The States. It doesn’t mean I am overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy. It really means that I am restless. Peace Corps is a temporary job-a temporary situation. Thus, there is always a part of you thinking about the future. I think volunteer fatigue hits volunteers at their official one year mark because they are forced to start thinking about “after Peace Corps “plans, which can be unnerving. Other PCVs around me have already begun to look into their futures, while I am reluctant to do so. Why? Simply put, I have always thought about the future. As an American, you must always have a next step. You must always be thinking about the future. This is the way I have been since I was little, always looking for the future and often sacrificing the enjoyment of the moment. I don’t want to do this with my Peace Corps experience. I refuse to. I often forget to live in the moment, so I want to stop doing that. I am young and take this lesson as one of the most valuable I have learned thus far in Peace Corps. Guineans live in the moment, often because they don’t know what life will bring them tomorrow. Shouldn’t we all think like this from time to time? I hope that, with time, I will learn to embrace my American ways with the Guinean life lessons I have learned. Maybe, I will learn to enjoy the present, while still keeping in mind that the future isn’t too far ahead.
Speaking of the present, after the most lovely vacation in Europe, I have been back in Siguiri for the past two months and been getting back to the grind. I am officially done with my computer training/organizational development project. I have done all I can do right now with that project, so I am on to the next. The final step of my project was to go to the other offices of RAFOC in the cities of KanKan, Mandiana (east of Kan Kan) and Kouroussa (west of Kan Kan) and help install the same changes to their systems. It was a pretty productive trip. I felt like the agents and the office managers got a firm grasp on the material that I was teaching them. The mini work trip took about a week and some traveling Guinean-style, but I am just happy that everyone at my organization is finally on the same page. As the heat once again starts picking up here, I have started to look into my next project, which will be entrepreneurship training with RAFOC. I will be teaching accounting, marketing, management, etc. to the agents of my organization in french and in turn, they will go to the groupements that take out the loans from RAFOC and teach the same material in Malinke. This will present particular challenges as the majority of the people in these groupements cannot read or write. This is going to be another long-term project. I am just now starting to compile information and material. In the shorter term though, I have been working on a basketball tournament in early April for HIV/AIDS awareness with the government organization for youth called CECOJE. We have set up the dates April 6-8, 2013 for the tournament and are working on getting sponsors and creating teams at the local high schools. I am really excited about this event and really hoping that everything works out well. Teams have begun to form and sponsors have begun to respond to our requests, so hopefully all of this good news will continue. I’ll make sure to put up pictures on the blog after the tournament.
As always, I am in Kan Kan. I am on the way to my very last Peace Corps training with my fellow G-21ers in Mamou. It is really crazy to believe that it may be the last time that we are all together. I still can’t believe that I am 11 months away from being done with Peace Corps. I have a feeling that time is going to fly by this year. I hope everyone is enjoying the cold back in the U.S. Trust me, it could be a lot worse. You could be in a desert…with me. Lol.
Lots of Love from smoldering Siguiri,