This will probably be my last post before I’m home in 2 short weeks!
My service has been one of challenges and I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would end that way as well. It’s not overall bad, but I’m leaving in a way I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was leaving with more that I’m going to miss. I wish I was leaving having felt like I really made an impact. I did everything I could and I know that my students learned something valuable from me, but I was dealt a hard hand. Today a friend and fellow volunteer said that she thought I had had the most challenges in my service. I responded that I hoped so because I wouldn’t wish that anyone else have this many challenges or more. Challenges aside, I had a great experience. I didn’t get the communities and friendships that my friends did. I didn’t have really any relationship with my counterpart in the end. My service was quite the bumpy road, but I did it. I endured, persevered, and stayed resilient through it all.
I dealt with extreme back pain, a gallbladder removal surgery alone and in a foreign country, a tumor diagnosis in my leg (don’t worry, it’s benign and doesn’t pose any threats to my health currently), an eviction, not having a home for 2 months, the death of a close friend, a tiny village with no water/electricity/transportation, a huge village with lots of crime and harassment, nosy and active counterparts, counterparts who didn’t seem to give a shit about me, corporal punishment all around and teachers offering to demonstrate how painful it is on me, other mentally triggering events, and people belittling me and discriminating against me because of my identity. I have dealt with a lot in my life, but this was still an extreme experience. But I also had hours of amazing time with my students, bonding time with my neighbor/sister, great travel experiences, fun times with my cohort, and I have made some of the best friendships of my life. If the only thing I got out of this experience was the love of these amazing friends, it would be enough. I’m happy to leave this village that has tested me day after day, but I will miss the experience and the time in my life. I will miss the people and the things I’ve done here. I will miss Baewyn weekends, and teaching my little sister math. As much as it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, I will miss Botswana. But I am ready to be home.