From JM: We have come to the end of our service. Today we recieve a new status known as RPCV, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We are flying out of Botswana for the last time tomorrow, Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 with new experiences, perspectives, lessons learned, friends and tons of memories. We will never regret any part of our service and will cherrish what it has created inside of us. Below are some final words from each of us.
From Carol: I normally spend a long time crafting my posts on this blog – but I simply ran out of time and I am quickly trying to say one last thing before we leave Africa/Botswana.
I am emotionally drained. It has been so hard to say good-bye to so many people that have done so much to change my life, teach me about a different way to live, loved me, cooked with me, taught with me, raised children with me, and had fun with me. I had a home here. I lived Botswana here. Now it is packed-up. Our things all sold or given away. We have four suitcases to take our life belongings back home.
Of course there are the dogs – OMG! Saying good-bye to those dogs was so hard. I am a little ashamed to say – I cried the most over them. I take comfort in knowing they are in good homes now. I know they are being loved and cared for.
We had three or four good-bye parties or celebrations and it was great seeing so many people express gratitude about our work and about us.
We were scheduled to leave our Molepolole home yesterday morning. All morning, from 5:30AM to the moment I left at 9:00 AM, children came to my house for one last hug and one last good-bye. I literally don’t think I can cry anymore.
I am grateful to have a vacation in Spain before coming home. It is very stressful to be coming back to no home, no car, no job, no phone, no computer, no nothing. But, I am confident things will work out; they always have. But it has been emotionally devasting saying all these good-byes while looking at an empty slate back home.
I am grateful to have many friends and family that I will be seeing for the first time in two years! We will see what the rest brings.
It is truly a bittersweet ending. The past 3 days have been an emotional roller coaster during sad Good Bye’s and happy future plannings. It’s too soon to use retrospect and make valid comments on our service other than the obvious feelings of gratitude to those who supported us and feelings of satisfaction in the quantity and quality of things we have accomplished here.
At this moment my greatest fear is that soon this whole two years will be a flashing memory that will seem as if it never really happened and will no longer be a part of my life. I know I will carry new ideas and perspectives in my future and I will stay in touch with several new friends for at least the immediate future.
On a practical level, however, I am scared to death of coming back to Chicago with no certaintly to return to. We will enjoy seeing our friends and family and staying with my parents while we figure out the next stage of our lives, but at the moment I am more pessimistic than optimistic. That being said, we have a couple weeks in Spain to look forward to, to ease our adjustment back into the real world. That will be enjoyable.
As my final words on this adventure I would again like to thank all the folks back home as well as our local support groups here in botswana for making this experience the best it could have been.
From Carol and JM: We love you all.