Bots 11 went to their Close of Service Training, which, officially and sadly, marked the beginning of the end, and end of an era for us! A few days before, I called a friend telling her I was freaking out about the whole thing, after all, isn't being in the PC sort of like being in some kind of arranged marriage. A marriage to a country, a village, fellow PCV's, and all is intensified, nothing is normal, and now after 2 years we're breaking up. But hey—it's been a great relationship!
The point is that Bots 11, minus 6 of us, made it all the way to the finish line. We made it through the drudge of PST, we made it through our initial struggles in our home stays and villages, we made it through many a Life Skills horrors, good and bad counterparts and schools, harsh weather, water and no water, electricity and no electricity, crummy food, we made it through long and hot kombie rides, and we made it through because of the inner fortitude of this group and the friendships formed. Bots 11 has had an insatiable appetite for working hard, playing hard, and traveling hard. I'm really gonna miss the first words when you run into your mates at a function: "I ran to the shower!" This week of togetherness, saying goodbye as a whole, regaling stories, watching films, and just enjoying each other was what this week was all about.
In hindsight, it feels good knowing the endless lists of what we've been through. I know I am not the person I was when I got on that plane at JFK, this experience has changed my life in a deep and profound way---in the way I see humanity, how I appreciate the simple things, and for simply being alive. I know the feeling when my landlord pops over, puts his arm around me and says “we've come along way.” Yep, I felt right like I was in a Dances with Wolves movie. But indeed, we have come along way. Even though I went through a few slumps, it was not a bad roller coaster ride. I've come along with my village, my school, and with myself. I've loved the travel and I've loved Africa, especially the stars and wild life. I fell in love with a dog who has been my protector and great friend, and that is almost the saddest part of starting the good bye season. Keoki won't have steady meals, shelter, or love, but he has developed quite the personality and hopefully that won't be killed off.
Coming to the end of one's PC service is one of the strangest moments in life, and incredibly difficult to describe if you're not in it, but I'm just gonna enjoy my last 2 months in my village and pray that this adventure doesn't just fall into a distant memory.