This is a guide for my family and friends about my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, Africa. I teach English as foreign language to high school students in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Also as a disclaimer, the comments expressed here are solely of the author and do not represent the United States Peace Corps, the American Government, or any other governing body.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It happens to every Peace Corps volunteer some time in their service. They consider leaving. I in NO WAY plan to leave here. But these types of thoughts have been circulating in my mind. When I signed up for this, not one single person actually believed me. No one thought I could do it. Not one. I have a tendency to quit things and so I can understand where my family's doubts lay. Also, as my nickname has long been "princess" and I often live up to the word, I could see how my friends didn't believe me. But I have no plans on leaving, I could never do that to my students. Plus proving everyone I know wrong has a sort of bittersweet satisfaction to it. But that's not to say that thoughts of leaving haven't crossed my mind in the past three days.

Our group of 33 has now lost 2 and I can see why they say that Cape Verde has the highest Early Termination rate in all of West Africa. What this means is that more people choose to quit the Peace Corps early in this country than all of the PC countries in West Africa, including Senegal, Mauritania, and other countries that I could see being slightly harder than this one. But it's not just about being hard. The first person to ET (early terminate) from our group didn't leave because it was hard. He left because he didn't feel that this was the appropriate place for him. The work he was doing was something he could be doing anywhere. He was working with youth, something that this place does need but in his eyes, it was something that wasn't extraordinarily necessary. What I am trying to say, is that for him, maybe it was because this place is normally very easy to live in that he felt he was not needed. His efforts could be spent in a similar situation in the United States, where working with troubled youth is also a much-needed effort. As a teacher, my duties are fairly clear. For me, however, my thoughts have drifted from my work.

Leland and I moved into our new apartment on Monday. And we have not showered since. To be sure, an apartment with four walls and a ceiling is far better than the mud-style hut I envisioned myself living in when I signed up for this gig. But I have learned in the past three days that my new motto is "patience is an incredible virtue." Our bathroom was completely empty. It didn't even have tiling. No shower, toilet or anything. I wish I had taken a picture. Our kitchen was not usable either, as the guy had not finished painting any of the house, including the kitchen and both our bedrooms. So Monday evening we went out to dinner, and I accidentally left my ATM card in the machine. Lovely. The first night we spent in our new apartment was hot, sticky, and full of mosquitoes. Also, the lovely dog chorus that lives just outside our window loves to put on concerts in the middle of the night. Did I mention we have a cockroach problem? Yesterday and Monday were spent purchasing items for our house. Things we haven't yet needed like pots, pans, plates, fans, etc. All while both of us have full time jobs. What bothers us most is that this isn't something we should have had to worry about at this point in our service. The Peace Corps should have secured us a permanent house before we got here, so we could have spent our initial week when I didn't have school doing all of the household errands. As it is, Leland and I have wasted two and a half hours today just trying to get a phone number in our house. We now have it, but we are waiting for the guy to come hook it up. It's a good thing the hook up guys is one of Leland's students. The phone line is all the more important now because my cell phone ran out of batteries yesterday, switched itself off, and has now refused to turn back on. So, we have no contact to outside world (minus of course the internet which I love to spend my time on, lucky me I know).

Our frustration reached its peak yesterday evening when the bathroom still hadn't been complete and we still couldn't cook. In the past three days, I have probably cried more than I have slept. Luckily they have finished the bathroom today and we can finally shower and pee. Things are beginning to look up again I guess. We just need to buy some bug spray and we'll be set. More or less. So we continue the struggle, the past few days have been the hardest. But things can only go up from here, right?


Blogger Natasha F said...

Nod pod, please don't cry! I wish I could come and bring you whatever you need. I really miss you and I know it's been a while since i've replied to any of your blogs...but i really love reading them. I hope you'll post another one soon telling us that the apartment is coming together and things are looking much better :) because that's what I hope for you! Love you,

14 November, 2006 18:10


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