Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Friends and Family

One of the biggest concerns most Peace Corps volunteers have, or at least I did, before leaving home was battling homesickness. While we try our best to stay connected, we go away acknowledging that we will miss special events, celebrations and the mundane activities of daily life. For me, it was knowing that I'll miss blueberry season, which always reminds me of my grandpa, and summer sunset kayak trips on the lake. Despite it all, I couldn't be happier that I'm here in Benin. 

Peace Corps has become an instant family. Our RCH stage is there for each other, whether to help deal with the transition or just as an ear to vent to. Knowing that most people are only a text away makes living here so much easier. With only a month to go, it's sad to think that most of us won't see each other on a regular basis, but reassuring that we will remain close as we endure/thrive/power through this experience together. 

While leaving family in the U.S. is hard, we have all been welcomed with open arms into the homes of the Beninese. As I've mentioned before, I love my host family. We laugh as I sweep my room, dance together to music videos after watching our 8:30 pm soap opera (dubbed in French from Spanish), and sit around the fire as I actually watch water boil. After an amazing two weeks in Adourékoman, I was looking forward to getting back to Sé. And for good reason: I was greeted with a running-while-screaming-"dada!"-hug from my main man Eddyson. This little guy brightens my day. 

He may also be the only Beninses kid in Sé who's only English word is "selfie." Sorry, not sorry. 

Stage is exhausting and rigorous. Between adjusting to a new culture, the heat, spicy foods and a different language, we are being tossed around like a prize goldfish in a plastic bag; we see the world outside the container, but we can't yet swim out on our own. I understand that they are easing us into our new lives here and I could be more thankful. 

When I left for the Peace Corps, my dad told me to befriend all the mamas, as they would be the ones to keep me safe here. While I will always have my host grandma, mom and sister, and the countless women in Adourékoman to back me up, I also have a new d.a.d. 

Daniel, my homologue has taken care of me from our first day at training and continues to check in on me every day. I look forward to getting to site and actually getting to know him better. It seems like there's nothing he can't do and no problem too big to conquer. 

Here's to the Adourékoman PCV team of Stage 28! 

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