To never have to start a sentence with "I wish I would have..."


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding the Silver Lining

I've been awful at updating this thing. I wanted to wait until something amazing happened at my new place or until I had some really cool integration story, but nothing like that's happened yet. I keep forgetting that my posts don't always have to be positive and a lot of the times I try to avoid writing a negative post, no matter how honest or accurate it may be, because things sound so much worse back home and I don't want anyone worrying about me.

Having completed more than half of my service I'm definitely guilty of having the mentality that I'm entitled. It's the sense of having earned something. You put in the effort, and you get acceptance and respect. Makes sense. Changing sites knocks you to the very bottom of the totem pole and forces you to do the work all over again.

In the timeline of PC service, right about now is when I'd be handing over projects and stepping back even more than I had been. Getting my site ready for life without me there or, in otherwords, making all of my work sustainable. The last 6 months are supposed to be easier, fun, and a time to really enjoy and appreciate all the work and effort you've put into the past year and a half you've spent with your community. It's not typical for a volunteer to start over with so little time left in their service. To put it bluntly, site changes completely suck. Especially when you don't want one. I'm trying my best to stay positive, but lately I'm feeling a little bitter.

It was hard to leave behind my old site and to leave behind students that I've taught my entire time here. It was even worse not being able to observe them during their final school practice (student teaching) and get them ready to apply for jobs. It was difficult not being able to say goodbye to the people that took me in and made me a part of the community. But I got over it, or at least I accepted that it was something I had to do.

Now I'm struggling with being seen as a new volunteer when I've already gone through all the work and growing pains of establishing myself as a legitimate member of a community. Sometimes you have days when you feel like you never want to leave this place. Everything have work, you're busy, projects are successful, everyone knows you, and you even have a social life in the village. These days are what I live for. It also takes a lot of work and dedication to get to that level of integration. As awful as it sounds, right now I'm not motivated to do that work.

I know what I have to do to be not only accepted into a community, but also to be happy in the village. I've done it before, and I've done it correctly. I'm having this terrible inner struggle with myself where I know the work that needs to be done, but I feel like I shouldn't have to do it again. It's that awful and selfish sense of entitlement I was talking about before. I'm indirectly taking out all my frustrations on my new community by not giving them the same effort I gave to Kyotera. While my situation is by no means fair, the way I am reacting is completely unfair to Nakaseke.

I've been too negative lately and I'm working to focus on the positives and how fortunate I am to be at such a well-off school where the tutors are qualified. Today is just one of those days where I woke up and thought I was back in Rakai. Being homesick for a place in Uganda is something I never thought I would experience.

I guess with all the negativity and bitterness and pent up resentment I'm waiting to find the opportunity that I know has to be right in front of my face. I've taken my time to be upset and to mope around. It's way past time for me to get motivated and find out where I'm needed here. They say there's a silver lining to every dark cloud; I'm just waiting to find mine.


  1. Hey lady. It takes a lot to write something as honest as this is, especially someone who has worked so hard. That shouldn't be overlooked, and I admire your ability to be truthful. I think you'll look back on this and realize it was one of the steps you took to get over this hump.

    And that's all we're going to let it be. A hump. Notice I said we; me and the rest of your Peace Corps Family are here for you.

    See you soon!

  2. Oh how my heart aches for you, baby girl!! Just wanted to once again let you know how much I love you & miss you. There truly is a bigger picture definitely will present itself. I can't wait for you to be back home with us. The silver lining....YOUR silver lining is happening next week....Leslie is coming to visit'll have several glorious weeks to escape & share & do fun things with her. I'm sure that will refresh both of you....Lord knows you both desperately need it. Have fun next week & please be safe!! Sending tight hugs through you!