Home leave had been a fantastic break, and I felt recharged and ready to get back to Zambia at the end of my visit.
It had been wonderful, to say the least. Visiting Home, the comfort of family and hot showers, the convenience of shopping centers, cars, electricity, a beautiful and awe inspiring road trip through Colorado, seeing good friends and having a blast with folks in Phoenix, and having some time to reflect and recover in Prescott with the folks. It was a much needed recharge time for me, to get back to the U.S. and spend over a month relaxing and soaking in the sights, sounds, and luxuries of the first world.
As the month drew to a close, it was bittersweet, but also invigorating. I was ready, and in my last few days that uneasy passenger known as restlessness creeped in. I wanted to be back, I wanted to be working, and I knew it was only a few days away. I had been resting, recovering, taking time with limited responsibilities, and had needed the chance to take a break, and to enjoy much-needed family time. Now as that time ended, and the clock ticked away on the wall, the itch had come back. The same feeling that drove me to apply to the Peace Corps in the first place. The implacable desire to be productive and to be back in an environment where I was making a difference. My flight was only a week away, and yet, as my mind and heart shifted gears again, the time slowed to a crawl, and that tenacious pester grew as I impatiently waited for the day of my flight to arrive.
I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to hearth and home, and indeed it turned out to be more difficult than I had thought as the days passed, culminating in that difficult moment when I checked in my baggage, and walked down the passenger hallway to the ticketed passenger’s only waiting room. Those final few moments, captured in the predawn cool of October, with guitar in hand and carryon strapped to my back, hugging my folks for another yearlong break… they made the restlessness and rush to be back to work seem silly. Couldn’t I just keep this moment a little longer? I knew I had to go, I knew there was no point trying to cling to every moment, regardless of how much I wanted to. With a final wave, a hug and a farewell I walked down that corridor and started the thirty-six hour journey back to Lusaka.
I had accepted the position as Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, a position both challenging, and uniquely altered by the state of affairs in Zambia. A Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL) is in essence a mixture of staff, volunteer, and support. A complicated and convoluted role, with mixed authority, more gray areas than anything else, and a constant stream of new situations to adapt to and address.
I’ll touch on what a PCVL is, the role and expectations of one in my next post,
Thanks for dropping by!