It’s been a long 5 months but finally we got the band back together! Just as it was true for the Partridge family, when a group shares a bus together so often, it creates a bond that you just want to sing about. Ok, the reunion of my stage wasn’t as musically magical as I would have had it but it was great nonetheless.
IST is something that Peace Corps throws in there to check up on you and give you some more information that would have just been confusing without any field experience. Ours was scheduled for the second week of February in Mamou, the same place I’d been in when I first met my counterpart.
To round out my visit to the Fouta region (middle region) of Guinea, I visited some other education volunteers before going to Mamou. I know that I’ve been describing that I live in the middle of nowhere but that was before I saw my friend’s site. If I live in the middle of nowhere, she’s at the edge. Seriously, I took a taxi an hour and a half through a mountain dirt road and then followed that up with a 2 hour bike ride to her village. It’s so far out there the taxi drivers don’t even go there. As one can imagine, when you are that “en brousse” (term we use meaning out in the brush) the views are pretty amazing. I loved stopping during my bike ride just to soak up the sites for a bit, and catch my breath. A nice day in the village of Bodie (boh-djay) and some good friends to catch up with was well worth the long travel.
Once at IST, we all got to spend a week catching up, exchanging stories, complaining about students, complaining about counterparts, complaining about co-workers …..seeing a theme? To get us through the rough spots we indulged in some American traditions like drinking games, Frisbee, and a home-made version of Family Feud (everyone does that right?).
Entering IST I wasn’t doing that great. Work was a struggle, community was a mystery and I couldn’t find a purpose. IST really helped to reignite my passion and light a fire under my ass. I’m only here for two years and as much as I have/will complain, that’s not that long. If I want to hold up my end of the contract I signed with Peace Corps, I better get my shit together and help my community.
Going to work like it’s Detroit,
PS: My can-do attitude also translated into a bit of redecorating. I hung up a bunch of my photos and now see the ones I love back home every day! Send me photos of you so I can think of you too when I want to quit! My pride may falter and tell me to go home but the pride you all have given me when you send me notes, I can’t let that down.