Today was our village farewell. It was pretty awesome. The amayi of Mterera and Paolo have been practicing their dancing and singing.
The schoolchildren danced for us, too. Christine, as the acting CD (country director), got up and gave a speech. She mentioned that the people back home tend to think that the hardest part of going in the Peace Corps is giving up our luxuries like electricity and running water. She said that really, the hardest part is being so far away from friends and family and all the people that we love. And that is so true and I felt it so deeply that I started crying then and I started crying just typing about it, too. I hadn’t really thought before about how hard our host families worked to be a buffer between us and our loneliness and homesickness.
My family, at least, was very respectful of that oddity that is the American/Western need for space while still making it clear that I was always welcome.
We all got up and danced with our amayis’ groups and with the band that had all these string-type instruments that I have no words to describe. At the end, I collected the chicken my family gave to me at the end of homestay (Linda had a picture of me and my chicken, but when we tried to look at them in my card reader on my computer, her SD card freaked out, stopped working, and said it needed to be formatted. Any ideas on how to fix that, oh my miracle workers?).
Erin gave a speech in Chichewa about all that we’ve learned from our families and how grateful we are. Many of us were torn between being ready to have control of our own schedules again and missing our families. This is probably how it will be for the next 2 years: simultaneously feeling emotions on the opposite ends of the spectrum and trying to reconcile them somehow.