Jul 29, 2010

My 2 years are up!

swearing in as a PC volunteer 2 yrs ago

Well, my 27 months have come to an end. Tonight I’m flying home to California after 2 wonderful years as a Girls Education and Empowerment volunteer in Pobe-Mengao. I return to Burkina in September to begin my 3rd year as a volunteer with Friends of African Village Libraries.

Overall, my experience in Pobe was amazing. I made some incredible relationships that I know will last for years and years. Through activities like girls’ clubs, girls’ camp, sensibilizations, AIDS formations, nutrition projects and the library project, I’m happy and satisfied of what my little-experienced-self was able to achieve.

Unfortunately my stay in village did not end like I would have liked. An emergency security situation forced me to evacuate Pobe without saying goodbye to my friends. But while this situation is unfortunate, I’m happy that I am extending a 3rd year. Hopefully in several months I’ll be able to return to Pobe and say my proper goodbyes.

Pobe-Mengao's famous Mamyou fertility statue

Tonight I return home for one month and the truth is that as excited as I am, I’m also partly petrified! I haven’t been home in over two years! I’ve been living in an African village in Burkina Faso, a country many Americans have never even heard of. Now I’m heading back to the fast-paced land of technology where time is money, where being in fashion doesn’t mean wearing bright multi-colored mismatched-patterned outfits; where my taking a 2 hour nap at noon time is not going to be acceptable.

I know I’ll feel out of touch. Who are the Jonas Brothers? Why are people so obsessed with Twilight? What the hell is Twitter? Is it true we have a Black president? (just kidding).

There are two things I am most excited about: 1) Seeing family and friends (obviously) and 2) Food! Everything from sushi to Mexican to my mom’s home cookin. I’ve already planned a major Costco run. I’m slobbering all over myself now just thinking about it.

Volunteers who have visited home already gave me good tips and warnings. For example, beware of my first grocery store experience….I’ll be in shock! (And wear a jacket…passing by the freezer section is like being in Antarctica!)

Overall though, I’m really excited. I am looking forward to relaxing, spending quality time and catching up with family and friends. For me, the fun begins right from the plane ride. Air France baby! Free champagne, free wine, free cheese. Is it sad that I’m actually looking forward to the meal served on the plane?