Archive | December, 2010

A dream come true… literally

28 Dec

This afternoon I found the envelope sitting on my porch. I brought it over to my coworkers who also happens to be my neighbor/mentor/friend extraordinaire because I figured such a moment was meant to be shared. Sure enough, I’ve been invited to Rwanda, staging May 4th, leaving (arriving?) May 6th.

Another reason I wanted to open it in the presence of someone else is that I figured I’d be less likely to have a meltdown. Just holding it in my hands was enough to make me a little emotional. It’s been such a roller coaster with the application process and there’s something so final (even though nothing with pc is final) and serious about getting an invitation. It’s terrifying yet exciting to think that in 4ish months I will be living a life I can’t even imagine right now surrounded by people who share the same commitment and vision.

In my heart of hearts I’ve been longing to go to Rwanda. Reading blogs of the volunteers there and knowing that so much growth and healing is taking place there is just inspiring and something I want to be a part of. That’s not to say the experience won’t be without challenges. The good thing is that I have four months to meditate on and arm myself with skills that will hopefully be useful in rising to the challenges presented.

Tija- I know you’ll probably read this, let’s talk about the certificate courses you took. I’m looking for something about working with people from post-conflict countries/living with PTSD. Thanks 🙂

The last couple of days have been busy and the next couple will be equally if not more! Good thing I have a plane ride to go over the mountain of paperwork I received.

I had a dream last night

28 Dec

That I got my invitation and it was to Rwanda!

Being with my family for Christmas was awesome and kept my mind off the envelope that’s making it’s way from the other Washington. Now that I’m home… I had to fight really hard not to go home on my lunch break and check if it had arrived. I don’t even k now what time of day the UPS man comes around these parts so I don’t know what to expect. Hopefully it comes today because I’m heading down to Seattle tomorrow evening after work and fly out to Cali in the morning for some sunshine and new years fun with my darling friend Kathy. In the meantime, I’m trying to kick this nasty cold. Ugh hopefully it doesn’t turn into a sinus infection.

Commmeeeeee onnnnn UPS!

INVITED!

17 Dec

And so excited! With all the budget slashing going on in Washington state and uncertainty about a job after December is feels so good to know that in 7-10 business days I will know what African country I’ll be shipped off to in May.

 

Eeeek eeek eeeek Merry Christmas to me!

Getting Closer

13 Dec

Talked to my placement officer again today.

The bad news is that there are no more open spots in second quarter programs so I won’t be leaving anytime soon. The good news is that I still get to go somewhere in Africa. My dilemma is where, do I pick door #1 of door #2?

Door #1 Departing the first week of April for sub-Saharan Africa. The program is heavily HIV/AIDS focused and works in a variety of capacities. Peace Corps Wiki leads me to believe that this is probably Botswana.

Door #2 Departing the first week of May for sub-Saharan Africa. This program involves HIV/AIDS education but also other health topics, working more closely with non governmental organizations. This program also prefers someone with a French speaking background. There’s no information or dates that fit this description on Peace Corps Wiki. Malawi fits the departure timeline but doesn’t have any French speaking parts. I really really really really want this program to be in Rwanda. Really really really. Somehow I don’t think I can flat out ask my PO if that is the case. The reasons I think this might be Rwanda is because of the French speaking background which is desired but not mandatory. Also, there aren’t any departure dates for Rwanda in 2011 yet. Mostly it’s just wishful thinking.

My PO said I could let her know by Wednesday morning buuuut I feel like the longer I take to make the decision, the longer I’m delaying that elusive invitation.

So I’m not sure which door I should pick. What do you think?

In real time

10 Dec

Update: Placement officer called around 11am and informed me that there weren’t any spots in programs leaving 2nd quarter. The soonest I could be leaving is March. But possibly not until April. She asked me how I felt about Eastern Europe in March to which I replied, “Well, I’m committed to the Peace Corps, I don’t have a lot of choices if that’s the soonest program that’s available do I?”

I never  do well thinking on the spot and whenever I’m on the phone with pc headquarters I can hear a meter running in my head and all I want to do is wrap up the conversation so they can get back to work….making progress on my file.

I skyped with my friend Kathyrn who is currently serving in Armenia and she let me in on a little secret, while pc may not be that flexible when it comes to accepting/rejecting an invitation applicants have some leeway in the time leading up to that. So after consulting PC Wiki I’m thinking of calling back Monday and seeing if there are any programs in the Caribbean or South/Central America open, after all those were possible nominations way back in May.

The Call From Placement

10 Dec

This is over a week old, but last Tuesday (Wednesday?) my placement officer Kristin finally called. The part that tickled me most is that I had been debating on whether or not to call the placement office and decided to remain true to my new mantra of, ‘it will happen in time.’ Who knew that my patience would be rewarded the very next day!

So Kristin asked all the usual questions, what I’ve been doing to prepare, did I still feel like the Peace Corps was the right decision, etc. And then she asked me how tied to a geographic region I was. My response, ‘not very’ was apparently the right answer. Why is that you ask? Well, I made the decision to get an IUD about six months back and not all country programs can provide the level of care required. Which is weird, because an IUD is one of those things you get and more or less forget about because routine maintenance is minimal and they’re good for 5- 10 years. Bless Peace Corps’ little heart for caring so much about my health. I’m curious what other women’s experience with Peace Corps and IUDs has been. Anyone?

Then it was my turn to ask her some questions, alot of good it did me though. First, I asked if there was a list of countries that could accommodate an IUD. The answer: depends. Then I asked her about the health degreed program explaining the only information I could find online was the kind of people qualified for it. Again they go to a variety of countries and work on a variety of topics. When I clarified that I was curious about the level volunteers work on be it; teaching, training trainers or working on policy and systems change. Again no real answer. She did mention that Central Asia and Eastern Europe parts of the world that could use my skill set and background. She also informed me that a January departure was unlikely and that she hoped to find a program for me within a week leaving most likely at the end of February. Though here we are a week and a half later and I haven’t heard anything from her and the only departure dates on PC wiki for the end of February/early March are for Africa or Spanish speaking countries which I don’t qualify for because I don’t speak Spanish. So I have no idea where I might go or when I might be leaving but that’s ok because my time will come and where ever I go it’s going to be where I’m needed and I’m going to get the experience I need.

My life in the past month has been so full of change it’s pretty funny. First I was going to be out of a job at the end of the year but now I’m not. I was nominated to leave for Africa in January but now I’m not. Last week I was going to move out my current house but now I’m not. Except for this nasty cold that’s dragging me down the last couple of days life is great even amidst the constant change.