I sit at a bar, good ol’ American Bud Light in my hand, surrounded by just about all 65 of my brand new friends. There’s chatter all around me and I hear snippets of, “…my luggage was so under the weight limit, I don’t get it,” and, “…cried like a baby,” and, “…electricity or water if you HAD to?” Very, very, slowly, it is beginning to settle in that this is really, really, real.
Right now I’m at Staging in Philadelphia (kind of like a big orientation to the Peace Corps) where I officially became a Peace Corps Trainee (PST). At 2:30am tomorrow morning we will sleepily hop on a bus to JFK and depart for Mozambique via Johannesburg. It’s all a little overwhelming. There’s so much information and so many new people. With that said, it’s been fun and the people so far have been wonderful and easy to connect with. We’re all in exactly the same boat and we’re all crazy enough to do the damn thing in the first place.
Goodbyes were hard and sad – I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much before – but it’s becoming more natural to quickly find solace in that every time I leave and return, nothing much changes even if I feel that there have been shifts within me. It’s impossible to put into words how truly blessed I feel and how overwhelmed with gratitude I am for my family, friends, teachers, and mentors. I feel your support and love so deeply and genuinely, and I find myself continuously marveling at the fact that I get to be a part of your incredible communities, that my life is intertwined with all of yours. The pep talks, the incredible time spent together, the concern and interest, the gifts and letters, they all mean more than you can imagine.
I’m a little terrified but I can say with full conviction that I’ve also never felt closer to this dream I have for myself that’s still taking form. I’m excited to work at the grassroots level, immerse myself in a new culture and community, and come to understand life in the developing world first hand. I’ve wanted this since I was so little and the reality of it is overwhelming and beautiful. It’s still a rollercoaster. I’m thrilled, proud, scared, anxious, etc., all at this very moment, but as Uncle Simon put it, it kinda feels just like skydiving. While there are very real moments of panic, my sense of adventure revs up at the thought of taking flight.
I’ll send out a big email, assuming I can, but y’all can send letters and stuff to this address (also found here with a few logistical notes):
Paige Sferrazza, PCV
Corpo da Paz/U. S. Peace Corps
Avenida Zimbabwe 345,
Maputo – MOZAMBIQUE
I think I’ll have phone service upon landing but there’s a good chance I won’t so I’ll do my best to keep in touch and keep you all in the loop. My phone number will change once I get a local SIM card and from then on, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger will be the best ways to keep in touch. Please, please be sure to also keep me in the loop as the days go by.
If you’re interested, you can watch the Mozambique episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations – the food looks awesome and it’s a great overview of the culture and history.
Always thinking of all of you and sending positive energy, love, and sunny days your ways.