Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friends, Simplicity and Beauty

I left Zwedru on Friday and it already seems like a thing of the distant past. I was so busy my last few days- saying good-byes, packing, eating my last plate of rice and pepper soup, washing clothes by hand for the last time, taking my last cold bucket bath, and waiting for the generator to turn on for the last time- I haven’t really had a chance to think about leaving until now.
It's all bittersweet, actually. Sure, I look forward to hot showers and Italian subs and 24 hr electricity, but I am also sad to leave behind such great friends, simplicity, and the natural beauty of Africa.
Liberia has not been an easy place to live or work. I have struggled with understanding the structure of a post-conflict country, the role of NGOs and the UN in reconstruction, the line between helping people and doing things for people, and personally, the challenge of separating my experiences in Liberia from my memories of Zambia.
But, Liberia has also been a very intense learning experience; filled with excitement, frustration, success, sadness, and love. Excitement of new places, people, foods, culture. Frustration over the pace of development, the lack of initiative and the dependence on aid. Success in making a difference (even if it was REALLY small), integrating into the community, and making friends. Sadness when I had to say good-bye. And, the love of Africa and everything it has taught me, the memories it has given me, and the ways it has helped me grow as a person.
I am thankful everyday for having come here, having the best colleagues anyone could ask for, living with the coolest site mates in Peace Corps, eating hot peppers, listening to the rain fall in buckets, watching the sunset, and getting a small taste of the village life I missed. Liberia has been difficult but it has helped me to appreciate my time in Zambia more than I could ever imagine. And for this I am most thankful.
As I close this chapter of my life, I will keep the memories I have made, the lessons I have learned and the people I have met close to my heart.

Until the 3rd Scoop (Triple Dip anyone?)……..

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