Well, today is officially my first day after Peace Corps service and I feel a huge hole in my life where my Botswana friends and family belong (this is not exclusive to Motswana, but encompasses everyone there including Peace Corps volunteers and staff). To let those who don’t know what happened in on the last month and a half, John and I were sent to the USA for medical purposes and with the full expectation and desire to come back to our home in Botswana. We completed everything successfully and were cleared by our Dr and due to one last request from Peace Corps (with only 1.5 weeks left) to be cleared by another type of Dr which it takes weeks to get an appt I was unable to get an appointment in time and have been medically separated. Officially as of yesterday I have been medically separated and John has interrupted service. What this means is that if I can fulfill the last clearance and we complete all the Close of Service requirements we can be reinstated but the reinstatement process can take a couple weeks, we are not guaranteed the same site and our close of service date would change. So, we are in limbo, still. We are doing everything in our power to get reinstated, but also have to set up life here in the USA and which ever happens first dictates our choice.
Since we have been back in Louisville, our families have been amazing and we want to thank them tremendously for the support they have been giving us (as well as the few friends I have reached out to). We have been partially behaving like hermits because the whole experience is a lot to take in between culture shock and feeling like we have had the rug pulled out from under us for the next 8 months of our life. All of our plans and desires have just disappeared. The first 16 months of our service was rough due to a broken foot and focusing so much of our time in the village because we planned to do some of the fun stuff for us, travel, visit our Botswana family & PCVs, and do collaborative projects more. In the months right before leaving, I finally felt like I got into my swing with the projects which meant most to me and now I will not be able to complete them. A lot of this has not been written up on here, but I would like to do updates to fill in the gaps. I am also sad about the way we left. We did not get to see everyone we wanted to as many of our friends are scattered all over the country and the ones we saw we had more of a somber goodbye rather than celebrating the time there. Most of all I am sad that I will never see many of my good friends again or even be able to talk to them, especially the kids who have no access to e-mail. Just thinking about this makes me want to cry out of such a profound sense of loss. I am not who I was before I left and never want to be that person again but I have to figure out who I am and who I want to be. I know this is a journey we all take throughout life, but being in the middle of it right now is a lonely place. One thing I really looked forward to with completing service with everyone else is having such a big support group in the Bots 11s who all came over with us and will all end around the same time dealing with the same stuff. Instead now there are just a few of us dealing with the same thing. I am thankful for my fellow Bots 11s who are “this side” right now and how we are supporting each other as well as those still in Bots who reach out and are receptive. Right now as I feel so lonely I also know I have so many caring families all over the world yet when I joined the Peace Corps, I only had mine and my husband’s which felt like a huge gift in and of itself.
For those friends in the US that I have not contacted, please know I will in time, it’s just that the culture shock on top of everything else has been a lot to take and in some ways is harder than when I went to Botswana.
John and I love you all and have and will tremendously miss our Bots crew. If we do not make it back to serve we hope to visit before the Bots 11 COS.