I’m breaking the cardinal Peace Corps rule…never talk about what Peace Corps is truly like. It’s supposed to be rainbows and butterflies, with the occasional unicorn thrown in to make things seem all the more incredible.
And yes, sometimes there are unicorns…but never rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes really lovely things happen – I celebrate a holiday with my compound family, I see a kid from school on the street and we fist bump, a local shopkeeper/friend invites me over for šay/buna and I spend the entire day uncomfortably conversing with her family. These are my unicorns. But I haven’t seen enough unicorns lately.
Lately, all I can think about is my school’s apathy toward working with me on projects, the fact that I can’t remember a day when I didn’t kill a cockroach in my house, and the fear that I’ll catch pneumonia taking a cold shower on too cold a day.
These seem like little things. They are little things. But little things add up. I was going to see a unicorn today – I was going to make pancakes and I was so excited. Until I opened my tin of flour to find that moth worms had made their home there. And my first thought – maybe I can pick them out and still use the flour? I quickly noticed they had spun webs throughout the entire tin.
And then I realized that twelve months ago I never would have thought that flour could be salvaged. I would have been repulsed, thrown the tin in the garbage, and then gotten my money back. I’ve lived in Ethiopia too long. There are some things you need to suck up and deal with, and there are other things you should never have to deal with. I’ve had to deal with too many of those things in Ethiopia.
So today I had my first serious discussion about leaving Ethiopia since my super sick days my first month here. The more I talked, the more shocked I was by how much I truly want to leave and how little there is keeping me here.
I don’t want to let my schools down, but they’ve done nothing but let me down. I still want to encourage a love of literature in my students, but I have doubts as to whether that will continue once my service ends next year. I’ll miss my compound family and the few Ethiopian friends I’ve made here, but is that worth losing my sanity? I don’t want to let down my fellow volunteers – and let’s face it, where will people stay when they come to Hawassa if I’m gone : ) But I also know they, more than anyone, would understand.
I don’t want those who said I couldn’t do this to be proven right…though by this point, the question isn’t “can” I? It’s why the hell should I? I came here to find myself, reinvent myself. Who says that has to take two years? Maybe it only takes one. So the only hang up I have left is regret. If I leave early, will I regret it? That’s the only question no one else can answer for me. It’s the one I have to ponder over the upcoming weeks. I’ll let you know what I decide…
*In the time between writing this and having the internet to post it I have realized that I need to get out of town for the weekend. So a lovely volunteer has offered to let me crash at her place. We’re going to make pancakes (sans the worms), watch The Sound of Music, and drink a lot of wine. Who knows, maybe this is all I need? Here’s hoping…