R&P Closure

When refugees arrive in the U.S. they aren’t just dumped into the general population, they go through a refugee resettlement agency. The agency greets them at the airport makes sure they have a small amount of cash, drive them to their new home, make sure they don’t have any immediate needs, makes sure there is a hot, culturally appropriate meal, give them a cell phone, and in the coming weeks provide cultural orientation classes, helps them navigate the healthcare system, go to health screenings, get kids enrolled in school, get their necessary documents like social security numbers so they can then get a job and be self sufficient, and do all the intimidating legal stuff like register for the selective service and register their new address with USCIS. Refugees are generally entirely self-sufficient in 3-6 months after arrival. The first 90-180 days are called your Reception & Placement period or R&P for short.

Well ironically I have been here for a little over 5 months and it’s time to close my reception and placement at Exodus. Like our clients the adjustment takes time. As I leave Exodus, even though I don’t want to (like a good number of clients), I am ready. They were kind enough to help my readjustment process—something that is hard for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. It is hard to explain, but America is hard to readjust to. You hear stories of RPCVs wandering around Wal-mart crying hysterically. I experienced that emotion in Europe. I spent hours walking around looking at cheeses simultaneously excited about the delicious options and panicking at the cost. When I came home for my sister’s wedding from Guyana I spent no less than 4 hours wandering around REI just touching items, asking questions about products I had no intention of buying. I did end up buying a few things including a super cool knife made by Bear Grylls, but it was just this overwhelming feeling of convenience and appalling level of greed. It’s hard to articulate really, but coming home is hard. You learn and grow when you are living that far outside your comfort zone and you come back as a new person. Your priorities change. I found that I am a more understanding person, but I have to fight against being an elitist butthead from time to time. There are things I cannot unknow, and it impacts my day-to-day life. There are good things like being better with money. It made me more humble, but less tolerant of injustice—perhaps a good thing. I now have a lot less in common with some of the people I love the most. A piece of me will forever be in Guyana and I miss that piece daily.

Then there is the practical adjustment. I am terrible with my phone. I let it die and forget it about because I went a long time without carrying a phone with me. I am learning about new social media and feel like a grandma because I just really haven’t invested in new social media the way my friends have. I have missed out on movies and music and fashion trends and food trends and come back to a slightly foreign homeland.

I also have renewed faith in my relationships that stood the test of time, distance, and change. I still have amazing people in my life who care about things because I care about them, and genuinely love me for the underlying character traits even if we have less in common. It’s easy to be friends when you see someone every day; it’s much harder to stay friends when you live a world away with limited technology. My family at large has been proud of me even though they don’t always understand me.

And so while I wish I could stay at Exodus longer. I wish I had an 18 month R&P period, but I guess 5.5 will have to do. I am grateful for the smooth transition and the many inspirational people who reminded me how to live in the U.S. Until next time!

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Reentry

After a few tumultuous months in the states, it’s time for me to get back to processing via writing. So let’s recap quickly the time since I last posted here. I embarked on a 3 month backpacking trip through Europe with Jeremy (for travel blog see: www.BearsandBells.wordpress.com). We arrived back on October 4th, 2016 and on October 6th I met with the Executive Director from Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., and was rehired as a case aid in the Reception & Placement Department. Jeremy met my friends and family and then I flew to Oregon and met his. Then I started work.

After a week at Exodus, I took on the role of Youth Program Associate and started managing the youth program. It was amazing. It was what I wanted. I was in a role with upward mobility working with vulnerable kids who had no idea they were in the middle of a misguided political pissing match targeting the world’s most vulnerable populations in the name of national security. Of course in refugee resettlement there is always more work than employees so I soon took on 1.5 days/week watching the front desk and answering phones. I also took on some graphic design work with our Outreach and Development department. This was pre election when refugee resettlement agencies were preparing for 110,000. The election’s surprise results left us all in a waiting pattern. We met weekly to say we will wait and see what’s going to happen. After a month or two the shock and mild panic fades out.

Then it was January 27th and a horribly misguided, xenophobic executive order was signed. I don’t want to digress into politics, but simply saying I work with refugees throws me into so many heated political conversations. And while I could, for what feels like the ten millionth time, go step by step through the screening process, give you the history of the program, the differences between refugees and undocumented immigrants, and how refugees contribute to their new communities, for right now I am going to move on (I will likely write that out into a post soon). As a non-profit we walk the line between advocate, an essential part of the job, and remaining apolitical. So that will be the tone I attempt to stay with. While the ban overreaches in a few areas like setting religious preferences, and denying current legal, valid visa holders entry, the scope of the order is unprecedented and the roll out was horrendous leading to mass confusion, most of the Executive Order is legal. The president’s power of determinations allows him to say how many refugees and from what countries we will take refugees. I disagree with his position on Muslims, and Syrians, but the process is inherently discriminatory and that is the power of the presidency. All of this is to say that aspects of the order will stand even if the courts dismantle the 120-day ban. The program will be cut from 110,000 down to 50,000 arrivals. That means that the program was cut by over half, and as that trickles down, that means about half of us will or have lost our jobs, and so that is where I and many of my counterparts across the country am. I wonder what that will mean at the national level, at the state level, the employers who depend on newly arrived refugees, resettlement agencies, interpreters, and so on. I am 26-years-old and unemployed. It sucks!

So here is where I am going. I am aggressively scouring for jobs. Luckily I have some awesome references fighting in my corner, and some majorly marketable experience and skills to fall back on. I took a one-way flight to spend some time with Jeremy on the West Coast. We are headed to the coast today as I write this, and I know that I will find something. I applied for grad school and will likely get my bartending license in whatever state I land. I feel free again and have a great opportunity to create the life I want, and that’s what I intend to do.

Come Let Go

 

It is that day. The day I leave di rock. The day I am officially an RPCV (returned Peace Corps Volunteer). My duty is inactive. My time is now my own. It’s a great burden and relief. I want to cry and smile. I want to be numb and robotic and nostalgic and have the feelings. I want it to be over and I never want to leave. It doesn’t feel real, but it is. I feel all things and nothing. It’s insane. I want my time in Jamaica to matter more. I want to be leaving Guyana. I want to be where I was supposed to be, but that isn’t the case. I am afraid of reintegration. I am excited to see my friends and family. My identity must again shift.

As a PCV people assign you great traits—humanitarian, decent, insured. As a recently returned volunteer you get less great traits—unemployed, broke, lost. It’s a transition that leads to new identities and new meaningful work. I’ll get new titles like case manager, resident, student and maybe attorney. My bank account, phone number and address will once again all be in the same country, and in a year or so they might all even be in the same state! It’s a lot to look forward to and a lot to be grateful for.

And so it is time to go. There’s numbness at this stage. A thoughtless movement that separates me from the severing and reformation of daily life. So if I have to keep moving I will take my cue from Xavier Rudd. One of my favorite songs that remind me of my service is his song Come Let Go on his White Moth Album. It’s one part encouragement to let go and enjoy life and one part the unwavering passage of time. It’s a reggae version of carpe diem, hold the Latin. The video is a series of snapshots of paradise, which is how I will remember my PC time—the snapshots of pure joy that kill the moments of discomfort and distress. And I also take his song Follow the Sun from his album Spirit Bird… yeah I might be a little more hippie than I used to be, but it makes sense for me. I’ll be setting out with Jeremy and then home then out west so I will literally follow the sun and the wind.

My time in Jamaica brought a lot of healing. Leaving Guyana was by far the biggest heartbreak of my life. WAY worse than any break up or hurt feelings. I didn’t do much in terms of development work. I have some kids that I hope learned something. I have some students who I hope will remember that they were so special to me and so important. It’s an odd thing to be at this precipice. I have a lot of peace and come out a better person than I was going in. So I suppose all I can do is take in the view and follow the sun. Until next time, Cheers and Walk Gud!

COME LET GO

Come my Brother

Come Slowly

Come Easy

My friend, come my friend

Come my Sister

Come Easy

Come Breezy

On me you can depend

Come my Brother

Put your Hands up

Take your heart out

Let Go, Come let go

Come my Sister

Can I hold you

Can I squeeze you

Let Go. Come let go.

 

Come Let Go

Come Let go

Come Let Go

 

Come the winter

Come Summer

Come Autumn

Come Spring

Do your thing

Come the river

Come the Mountain

Come the Ocean

Come the trees

You will see

Come the wind

Come the rain

Come the tide in

Come the tide out again

Come the wind

Come the waves

Come the tide in

Come the tide out again

 

FOLLOW THE SUN

Follow, Follow the sun

Which way the wind blows

When this day is done

 

Breathe breathe in the air

Set your intentions

Dream with care

 

Tomorrow’s a new day for everyone

A brand new moon, a brand new sun

 

So follow, follow the sun

The direction of the birds

The directions of love

 

Breathe, breathe in the air

Cherish this moment

Cherish this breath

 

Tomorrow’s a new day for everyone

A brand new moon, a brand new sun

 

When you feel life’s coming down on you like a heavy wave

When you feel this crazy society adding to the strain

Take a straw to the nearest water and remember your place

Many moons have risen and fallen long before you came

So which way is the wind blowing and what does your heart say?

 

So follow, follow the sun

And which way the wind blows

When this day is done

 

Representation

I bought a little book for each of my students so that I could write an inscription to each student. So I go to the bookstore in Morant Bay to buy some books. I ask the lady working there if she has some cheap quality books and we see the Tarantula Tales which are classic tales like Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Ugly Duckling and so on. She also comes up with these workbooks that teach life skills. I looked through them and while the content was good, every single book featured white people. Since none of the 178 students at Cedar Valley Primary Junior High School are white I asked if she had any copies with non-white people in them and she just burst out laughing.

I think part of why she laughed is that white people don’t often talk about race because it generally makes us feel guilty and uncomfortable (no excuse) and so my question was surprising. And I think she laughed partly because it’s absurd that Jamaica at 93% black, features white folks in their books about life skills—and by life skills I mean books about the traits one should acquire to be successful and most pleasant. I settled on the Tarantula Tales books that featured animals so as to not offer more white people in a black republic. It seems like such a little thing. After all I read a lot of books featuring non-whites, but the big difference is that I also have a WIDE array of white stories to choose from. This is a big deal to me. I grew up knowing that I could be anything. I read about white presidents, white princesses, white veterinarians, white scientists, white photographers, white teachers, white nurses, white doctors, white lawyers, white athletes, white writers, white anything and everything. I also read about the occasional non-white, but the examples were few and far between.

 

And the reason this is sooo damaging is that my students don’t see that they can be anything. They read story about white people even while being in a black republic. They are taught that white stories matter more than stories from people of color. The message goes on and on. They see a lot of people of color in entertainment roles like Beyonce or Vybz Kartel or LeBron James and the internalized message is that blacks can be successful as entertainment, but very rarely as professionals. It’s so problematic and infuriating. President Obama is hugely popular in Jamaica, and not because his policies are popular, but because the U.S. electing a POC sent a message that the U.S. does value POC. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but one of very few steps.

 

And the few stories written by POC are about “culture.” That is the only time we read POC in school is when we are seeking out a niche. We want to read about Africa or Asia or South America. We do not read stories about POC very often in our day to day about ordinary life. We read Chinua Achebe because he writes about Africa. We read Langston Hughes as part of a minor movement in our history. We don’t read POC talking about politics or fashion or history or in science fiction or romance. We only read POC when they talk about distant lands or offer an indictment of Donald Trump to rally around. It’s assigning POC a singular role.

 

And this lack of representation goes from childhood on up. And it is not as if POC don’t write. It took one google search to find 1000s of blogs, magazines, reviews and books by POC. The problem is that as white people we seek the guidance of white people first. I think back to some of the influential books I’ve read about race throughout my schooling and with the exception of Mya Angelo and Toni Morrison, I have Tim Wise (white), Harper Lee (white), Mark Twain (white) and others. While these writers get props for being concerned about racism and for taking the role of white allies, they ultimately made money off the misery, oppression and struggles of POC throughout history. While fighting racism they became a white surrogate to actually listening to POC. THIS IS NOT OKAY. We owe people of color not only a platform to write, but our attention. If we are to seek out the truth of racism and really truly endeavor ourselves to eradicate it, we need to start seeking out voices that really know and understand what it is like to be a POC in the states. We need to read not only the Obama’s of the world, but also the blogs. We need to grant the plurality of identity that white people enjoy to POC. So without further rambling I offer you Some Awesome Blogs From POC talking about issues of identity, racism and how to be better people:

African Voices

Kweli

Kin Folks Quarterly

Writing With Color

Kyoto

50 Books by People Of Color

Culture Absorption

So this is the process of adopting a culture not your own. So my culture is German-American. We went to a church that had services in German, and I learned a lot of Christmas songs in German as a child. We bake these terrible little cookies that taste like licorice because that is tradition. My family cooks traditionally German dishes fairly often. My mom speaks German. I have German features. In fact, to my amusement, several people have guessed that I am German not American until they hear me speak. I think it’s my soft mannerisms and German features, or I don’t know, but it amuses me since both sides of my family are German. I also have a small town American culture. I have mid-western manners. I love watching my dad coach high school football games. I grew up around sports, and trucks and the idea that good ole hard work pays off. You know all the things you pick up from rural Indiana. And then I have adopted a few things from different cultures I’ve been around.

 

I picked up a few words from Haitan Creole, Spanish, Patios, Creolese and Burmese. I have headbands and clothes from different places. I have an all-straw outfit made for me in Guyana, a traditional Indian outfit from my host family in Guyana and a Karen shirt from my friends at Exodus. You get little pieces from the people you’re around and that’s a good thing. I’ve learned from people who grew up differently than I did. Understanding even small pieces of different countries starts to build understanding and multi-cultural friendships. And this goes beyond travelling abroad. I’ve traveled the states a bit and the more people you run into the more you know. I have never lived in a city of more than 10,000 for more than 3 months—so I learn a lot from people who grew up in cities. I learn a lot from people with different culture than me. I am very happy to have had the privilege to acquire pieces of other cultures.

 

And while there is immeasurable value to cross-cultural experience, there exist many pitfalls. For example when you are learning to speak Spanish and you go to a busy Mexican restaurant and try to order in your 7th grade Spanish and the waiter clearly speak English, it’s a little offensive—okay maybe a lot offensive or at the very least it’s pretty annoying. On the other hand if you have a Spanish speaking friend and you practice your Spanish with that person, even if it’s terrible at first, that’s admirable. The same thing with Jamaican Patois—at school when people speak English to me, it would be nearly mocking to speak Patios back, but then telling stories and jokes with my neighbors and friends we all laugh and laugh. Miss Bobs told me and Lindy that it’s cute when we speak Patois. It’s very difficult to be funny in formal English in countries where Creolese or Patois are spoken. Learning even if the accent never comes shows that you want to be local, and are actively seeking a way to blend in. And in some cases small children do not communicate well in formal English, so by speaking the local dialect you are able to communicate. So the point is that there is a time and place to go local and a time and place to use your own language and stick to your upbringing.

 

The same thing with dress and appearance—you can wear cultural items in a respectful way. For example I have that outfit made for me for Arawak heritage celebration in Santa Mission. I wore it on heritage celebration day. I won’t wear it in any other Arawak village. I won’t wear it as a costume to a Halloween party. I will only wear it in the capacity for which it was made for me. Otherwise you take something inclusive and special and make spectacle out of it. Likewise I had friends in Afro-Guyanese places who had African wear like head scarves and bandana dresses (as they are called in Jamaica). They wore them to cultural events at school to show that you can show Guyanese culture no matter your skin color. That being Guyanese means you get all 6 people groups of culture. But to wear those clothes out of context could lead to cultural misappropriations. In Jamaica you will get mixed feelings about white dreadlocks. Some people wear locks for style, and some for religious/spiritual reasons. For me, even though I think locks are freaking sweet, I wouldn’t get them because at times it sends the wrong message: as a white person, we get to take on and off different cultures to suite our mood, but we lock out people of color from enjoying the same transience. And unlike clothing, language and so on, you can’ take on and off dreads. Once you have them, you have them for a long while.

So all of this is to say: Enjoy the cross-cultural interactions. Soak up all that there is to learn. Celebrate each other’s cultural contributions and differences. Ask your questions, dance the dances, eat the foods, drink the drinks, pray the prayers, seek out all that is good, but be mindful about the context in which you emulate all you have learned.

Peace Corps Moments

Every volunteer has these moments where they think, “I will never forget this as long as I live.” And when the going gets tough these moments kind of carry you through. And as I’m nearing the end of my service, the moments kind of play on a loop in my head and make me all nostalgic. So here are my greatest moments in roughly chronological order.

  1. Way Back in Training Sitting Around while PC10397836_10204140434894820_5535809666953741815_nVs Played Guitar. So we all sat on the steps of our hotel passing arou
    nd guitars, singing and just being so Peace Corps I can’t take it.

 

  1. The first time my host mom in Laluni told me she loved me. Momma as I call her was a reluctant host. We had a higher than average number of hinterland people and so PC went begging for good host families with nice rooms for us. Momma barely let Julie in the gate and by the end of the day Momma had signed the papers and very hesitantly accepted me. Fast forward a few months and we said tear filled goodbyes. The next few months were filled with phone calls and vegetables from the farm. It is an incredible gift to be welcomed into someone’s home like that.

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3. The first trip to Santa Mission. The boat ride to and from Santa was always special to me. Yes, there were transportation issues (not enough boats, not on my time schedule, waiting for hours and hours), but the rides were breezy and always a little different. The first one I was totally in awe! We saw giant river otters—water dogs—and sloths. I grew up reading about the rainforests in South America and it was just entirely surreal to see it for the first time. Also Simeon (our safety and security manager at the time) told us to watch out for snakes that sometimes fall into boats so it was slightly terrifying.

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  1. Miss Jackie bringing me dinner before I had anything set up. I got to Santa and assumed I’d have a place to buy food, and a stove to cook it. Turns out neither were in place. The stove and bottle were there but the adapter wasn’t working, and there were shops, but nothing fresh. Anyways Miss Jackie brought delicious rice, chicken and pumpkin to me. I was still scared and painfully unknowing of all things Santa, and it was the first time I felt at home.
  1. The first time I went to Miss June’s house. I was still so out of place and didn’t know anyone and Miss June invited me to come sit on her couch. I only had a hard chair in my house and so sitting on a couch felt like home, and I think I had to ask her to repeat herself a million times, but she did. She introduced me to Sammy and made me feel a little more normal.
  1. The first time I played football (soccer) in my community. I love soccer because it’s nearly universal. It’s something I’m good at and enjoy. It’s the same in every country. You have different styles and fields and everything, but it’s still the same.
  1. The first girls’ night I hosted at my house. A few friends came over and we baked cookies watched TV shows and listened to music and it felt just like home.
  1. Kaieteur Falls. The trip to the falls was amazing! It was a short but amazing plane ride and then a little hike to the falls. It’s this amazing falls! The guides are locals. The place isn’t overly done-up for tourists and there’s something amazing about standing there.

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9. The first time I grew my own food. So I didn’t grow much, but after much work and time I had my first vegetables. I am so proud of those stupid tomatoes, but it made me really very happy.

10. The Brazil Trip. So I took a few vacations during my time in Guyana, but the trip to the Brazil was pretty amazing. I went to Manaus which is a super underrated city. It’s not easy to get to (36+ hours on buses from Georgetown), but it’s really a cool place. There’s markets and docks. The Gorgeous Opera House with short free music events—we saw a ballet with an all guitar orchestra. We floated around the Amazon and stayed at a sweet eco lodge on the river. We ate steak and drank good beer. And that’s where Jeremy and I started our adventure. What a weird and awesome first date—okay, neither of us planned it, and we didn’t kiss or anything the whole trip, but it’s the first time we hung out together and it was great!

 

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11.Sitting in my hammock with Monster. I had this great hammock from Brazil and I sat in it, drank some pywari, read a book and cuddled with Monster Cat. It’s short and simple and just kind of purrfect!

  1. When Ester made me an Amerindian outfit. It’s something I will always love. So there are major issues with people dressing up like Indigenous people for Halloween. I totally get that, but this was something else. 1. She made it specifically for me. 2. It’s an outfit made as a costume. It’s not a cheap mass produced outfit from Party Plus Superstore that completely disrespects the heritage of Indigenous people. It’s from the same Arawak community I lived in. And it’s not actually an outfit of cultural significance that is I am not wearing something reserved for people of position or honor. It is similar to an outfit she would make for someone in the Amerindian Queen Pageant in Guyana or someone participating in Indigenious Heritage month celebrations. 3. I wore it for a heritage celebration and will not wear it in the states. But, when I see it, it reminds me of some of my last moments in Santa.

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13. Saying goodbye to my community in Santa. This is a tough one. It’s a heart breaking one. I have never felt so devastatingly loved in my whole life. Saying goodbye to Miss June and Aunty Natalie and Miss Jackie and all the students and Chrysanthi and Uncle Porter and Auntie Joylene and everyone. It was sooooo hard, and sooooo wrong how it happened, but there was real genuine love. I think a lot PCVs have local friends that they make solely because they are in a PC and want local friends. Then there are friends that you know you would have no matter where you met them and no matter when you met them. I have that with people in Santa. It’s amazing and saying goodbye I could feel it.

  1. The last big hug from all the students. I was about to get on the boat and we had said some goodbyes. Our students and teachers sang. The tears were flowing and then Miss June said, “Well go get her” and all the kids came and gave me one last big group hug even the boys who liked to give me trouble.
  1. The first time Miss Bob’s made me soup. I was sick and not feeling very well and Miss Bob’s made soup for me to help me feel better. When I was in Guyana I lived alone and Miss June would send food over from time to time and Auntie Natalie would check in with me if she hadn’t seen me for a day or two, but it’s a whole other thing to have someone in your house actively try to take care of you when you’re sick. I will forever be grateful for her help.
  1. Hiking Blue Mountain. So I went with Jeremy up to the peak. We were told it’s about 3 miles, but it’s actually about 8 miles each way. It was long, but it was fun. Of course the clouds set in, but there’s something about climbing up a mountain that gives you renewed resolve and makes you happy.

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17. Jamaican Snow Day. We made snow in my classes and it was really fun. The kids got to do snowball fights and play and they did some of the best creative writings I’ve read.

  1. Sitting on the Beach. So I don’t really have a group here, but I have a few friends. We all met up on the beach and the guys played guitar and ukulele. I swam and it’s just kind of a great relaxing Peace Corps Moment.

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19. Lindy Arrived. It’s the beginning of the end when a new volunteer arrives in your site. But it’s been really fun to walk around and enjoy my time with Lindy here. We can hang out and go for long walks and just enjoy the beautiful place we are lucky to live in.

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20. Leaving Jamaica…. It hasn’t happened yet, and while I’m excited to move on, I’m really sad that this part of my life is closing.

The Next Volunteer in Valley

 

13315580_10156994039820080_4102767179158550297_nSo as I prepare to leave, a new volunteer named Lindell or Lindy for short, coming to work in Cedar Valley. She’s in the Environmental Program and will be working a few days each week with the school and a few days each week with various farmers’ groups. She’s pretty awesome!! So as fate would have it, Lindy is from Indy!! It’s really a strange and wonderful thing to meet a fellow Indy girl all the way down here in Jamaica. Something I’ve realized about the states is that you definitely have regional cultures (if not state or city or part of a city culture) and it’s great to have someone from home. We’ve talked about all our favorite things like Mass Ave and Bakersfield tacos and margs, and Bru Burger and Scotty’s and 3 Wisemen and Broadripple and Downtown and all the parts of Indianapolis and Indiana that we miss. I’ve met her family via video chat and they’re a lot like my family. It’s just a crazy comforting thing to have.

It’s also been great to be reminded what it’s like to be a shiny new volunteer. New Volunteers have so much energy and I know I came in that way too. They are open and excited and inspired while there’s a temptation to say, “just you wait…” the better reaction is to be renewed in your efforts and energy. It’s a great reminder how rare and extraordinary this experience is and of all the hard work I put in getting here. How lucky I am that 2 other countries asked me to come and work, and 2 different communities have welcomed me with open arms. It’s really refreshing and inspiring… a great note to go out on.

Also I have an awesome new friend to hang out with. My site doesn’t allow for me to go and come easily. You might wait for hours for a bus, which means meeting up for dinner or a drink with other volunteers is a no-go. There’s no easy way to go do fun things when everyone is busy and transportation so finicky. So with Lindy here we’ve come up with some exciting day trips! We’ll be going to Bath Fountains (the natural hot springs), Reggae Falls (a little waterfall nearby), we’re going to hike over to another volunteer’s place, and we’re going to climb Blue Mountain with our host family. Then maybe I can finally eat the burger at the Long Boarder and I’ll be headed out of here. Those things are only fun when you have friends to do them with and I’m happy to have Lindy to do them. It’s also a great way to start your service—getting to know some of the cute little spots here and there near your site. And I mean I can’t think of a better way to close my service than standing on the highest point of the island—fingers-crossed for clear weather.

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So I am so excited to welcome PCV Lindy to Cedar Valley. She’s already getting involved and doing great things!! There’s something cool about passing on all my accumulated PCV knowledge and seeing that Cedar Valley will be someone else’s home!