Big Up from Aribinda

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Volunteer for a Year... A Hard Year

This blog was written 23 August and completed 30 August

On the eve of having been a volunteer for a year, I guess I don’t have many things to say on the subject. I guess I am just happy that I have been able to do this, to survive. I have not thrived. Rather, I have struggled. I thought so many things before I came. I remember talking to people in the States, telling them how I didn’t want to have expectations. Having no starting point, that’s how I wanted it. I had no idea what sub-Saharan Africa was, it was just some spot on the map that represented a hell of an adventure, possible tribulations.

Having been here, I have learned so much about myself. My connection with my “Americaness.” My love of information. How much I miss my family, my friends, how much I rely on them. How much I miss my culture. I have been, for a majority of my service, the most northern volunteer in Burkina Faso. Also, the teacher with the least amount of hours in a village with a dearth of resources. Of course, being the most northern volunteer is nothing compared to the junk that volunteers in Niger and parts of Mali go through. But, being in the Sahel and having 5 hours of class a week has tested my resolve. Because I had so few hours, I found myself in a deep depression in January and February. Nothing to do, I recoiled from the community, didn’t practice my French as much as I would have liked. I would call it a success now though. I could have bagged it, just said fuck it. Well, here I am.

And I am staying. After living here and doing my thing for the first episode, I gotta see what happens during the second episode. What’s the end gonna be like? How will my work expand during the second half of my service? I feel like I don’t want to let my community down. Andrea and Malcolm did it for two years, I sure as hell can. Andrea had it that much harder too. No cell phone, transport was harder. Come on, I got it relatively easy.

Well, I have 11 months left. And yes, I am counting. I am split, torn between two different worlds. Here, in Burkina, serving and trying to make a difference. Needless to say, struggling for a pampered American. Over there, in Oregon, finally appreciating the rain, cooking for my mom and dad, taking the dog out on the river or up the mountain with my brother and sister. Going out with my friends, laughing it up, seeing what people are up to. Well, we never grow by taking the easy route do we? Yeah, I like to refer to myself as du Hard Corps, like the stage that showed me how to roll. Plus, I’ve already been here for close to 15 months, what’s another 11 months? Gonna go by fast I’m told.

And the new stage just swore in last night. Reminded me of how I was. Nervous to go to site. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, how hard that first month was gonna be. Well, I am staying to teach, plant trees, and serve people who have accepted me into their community and gave me another reason to live and show my love.

Going to Benin and Togo next week. I’ll have more soon, hopefully on the topic of voodoo, ooh!

Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it! Much love!


Molly said...

Whoa! Who's that tasty little morsel in the green dress? What an AWESOME picture! I really appreciate getting to look at your blog for all the photos of things my sister neglects to take pictures of. I also like your introspective ramblings and the franglais. Laissez les bon temps rouler, et je bois une biere pour toi, mon frere. La prochaine fois que tu as une opportunite, je voudrais bien voir un photo avec elle et une de ses choses favoris- un arbre.

Joseph Sandiego said...

Mac, dude. you look phuckin great. everyone's proud, you know...blah, blah, blah.

Darcy08 said...

You go Mac! I am very proud of you and you are very Hard Corps!!!