It’s a busy week over here in trainee to volunteer land. First off on Monday morning, we moved stuff from host families’ houses to the HUB. The we loaded a cargo truck and a Peace Corps’ Land Cruiser with our stuff. It’s amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 10 weeks. Then we made the one and a half hour trip to Kigali where we unloaded the two trucks worth of stuff into a classroom at a Catholic boarding house. The day began at 6am and six hours later, we are settled in the nunnery for the next few days. While at the nunnery, we’d go from trainees to volunteers.
We’d swear to support and defend the constitution of the United States in front of the Deputy Ambassador and a Rwandan television audience.
We danced a traditional Rwandan dance on live TV. We spent time at the Rwandan immigration office getting permanent residency cards. And we shopped for things for our new houses.
We had free time in Kigali thanks to a government holiday where a few volunteers and I headed to a bookstore, bought beverages, and sat on the rooftop bar talking about life, love, politics, and whatever else popped up.
It was our last real care-free day as volunteers being together. Oh sure, we will see our neighbors at regional meetings and the entire group again at conferences, but at least for me, I was acutely aware that the little family, the support system I’ve cobbled together over the last 73 days would be split up and sent to the four corners of Rwanda come Thursday morning.
I stayed up til 1am talking to friends both in person and via telephone to my people I never America knowing that come daylight everything will change. As much as I give the appearance of being cold, aloof, and uncaring, the fact is I do care… deeply and saying goodbye to some of my fellow volunteers, in some ways was harder than saying good bye to friends and family in America back in June.
But goodbyes were said, tears were shed, and two by two we piled all out worldly belongings into a Peace Corps’ vehicle and made our way to our respective sites– home for the next two years.