Give and Take

I’m writing this post from a hotel room in Quelimane where I sit, once again, on the brink of change. I’m here because the Peace Corps Medical team messed up. Despite weekly complaints, I’ve had an untreated and unacknowledged pneumonia for the past 3 weeks. I’m frustrated but it’s all good. I now have the direct phone number for a good doctor here in Quelimane, and I’ve had a few extra days of hot showers, air conditioning, and yummy restaurants. More importantly, I’ve had these few days to process all that has happened in this past week.

On Wednesday, Moz 27 (my Peace Corps group) swore in. This means we shed the T from Peace Corps Trainees (PSTs) and gained a V, now officially Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). We left our wonderful host families and beautiful Namaacha early in the morning to attend and participate in a lovely ceremony at the Mozambican Ministry of Education in Maputo. I had been so distracted by preparation and goodbyes that I was startled by the intense emotion swelling within me as we recited the final words of the Peace Corps oath in Portuguese.

Right hand raised, we said in unison, ‘Eu sou uma voluntária do Corpo da Paz.’  I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.

For me, a dream quite literally come true. Full of emotion, pride, and gratitude, we congratulated one another, excited by the adventure and humbled by the work we each have ahead.

It’s only been three months and it’s already a ride made gorgeous by the intensity and pace of it’s ups and downs.

I said goodbye, perhaps for good, to my host family – 5 beautiful, loving people who took me in, showed me kindness, patience, and acceptance, who taught me language, culture, and humanity. I gained independence. It’s a little thing but I am very much looking forward to waking up in the morning and making myself real coffee in my own little house, starting my day peacefully and in my own way.

I left behind the red earth of Namaacha and today, will arrive in sandy, white Namacurra.

I said tearful goodbyes to the friends who have become my in-country family. Until this moment, we have shared almost everything about this experience. Now, I set off to begin working, fulfilling the true mission, and finding my place in what will be my own Mozambique.

On my way to the hospital I sat, backpack full of every electronic I have, in an unmarked taxi with two men in the front asking questions about whether or not I’m married or have a boyfriend. This is entirely normal conversation in Mozambique, but the thought of what could happen overwhelmed me. Then, as if a light switched on, I realized that I was maneuvering my way through Quelimane in Portuguese, that I had enough confidence to respond well and brazenly to the driver’s interrogation, and trusted my intuition and judgment well enough to know I was safe.

I am excited to go to this new home and I am excited to serve. I am acutely aware that the peaks and valleys of the roller coaster I’ve been experiencing will only continue to amplify but I’m ready to take it on. At this moment, from this hotel room, I can’t possibly imagine the form my life will take over the next two years but I am energized by the thought that this journey, my new life, begins today.

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