Monday, May 23, 2011
The realization that I'll be leaving soon has been pushed to the front of my head dramatically by the recent completion of the Close Of Service (COS) conference. Questions such as what has my service meant to me, what have I accomplished, and what do I wish I had accomplished, instead of floating around in my head, have been brought forward and, although the conference is over, remain out in the open, teasing my brain to come up with multiple answers for them. I suppose that is the purpose of the conference, to crack through the hard shell that we've constructed around us so as to not think about the next step, and to force us to face the truth that home is still over the water. Not to say that we've forgotten, but it is often told to us that it's impossible to straddle the Atlantic, one must pick a side, and in order to live on a day to day basis without much mental strain, our America is pushed to the back of our consciousness. We know it's there but feel more comfortable focusing on the task at hand, living in the moment, and what have you. A wealth of information and forms were provided to us to show us that, indeed, there is life after Peace Corps. Most of us were quite glad that we still have a few months to get our act in gear before we shove off for the western land. It's strange to think that the image of my village where I've been living for the past two years is already begginning to crystallize in my mind. Hearing former volunteers speak of their experiences and how they viewed their villages was like hearing an echo from the future, of what we might say twenty years from now about the people we knew au village, the experiences we cherished, and something that will always be with us lying as we continue on our journey. Our hotel, full of modern amenities and conveniences that are now somewhat foreign to many of our thoughts, loomed a giant dock, Benin's window to the world. The cranes moved giant boxes containing goods which continue to slowly weave the small country's economy into the giant global machine that is the world-wide economy. How fitting that this global window, symbolic of where we came from and what development, at times, represents, towers over us at this conference.