Friday, July 8, 2011

10 Months

written July 5th, 2011

10 months from today I’ll be heading to Kanombe International Airport en route to the good ol’ US of A. As exciting as it is to think about reaching holidays that I can say ‘in a year from now I’ll be with family and friends’, it’s a bit unnerving to think about what lies ahead.
Before I start prematurely packing my bags however there are some pretty large items on my To Do List which remain currently unchecked.

1. Nyamagabe Community Library
Although we are days away (fingers crossed) from hearing back about funding to complete the rehabilitation of the library building, that approval will start a chain of events that will undoubtedly be time consuming and hectic. Starting construction, recruiting a librarian, receiving books, organizing books, figuring out a library system…the list will continue to grow. For sustainability purposes, community leaders are in the driver’s seat. As a PCV with 10 months left and 6 months already committed to the project, it’s hard to not want to reach over and press the gas pedal from time to time.
2. Camp GLOW and BE
Currently at square one with this project, volunteers including myself are starting to organize holiday camps for local students. Although this isn’t a new idea in Rwanda or for PCVs worldwide it will be new to Nyamagabe, where one of the camps will be held. Lodging, food, transportation, lesson planning, budgeting are all on the list of things to do at this point. All of this is starting now and must be finished for camps to start the first week of December. Ready. Set. Go.
3. Primary Project
Oh yea, I still have a primary project with AEE that I should be at Mon-Fri. Finding areas or projects where I can fit in and can actually contribute is a challenge in itself. Some weeks consist lengthy meetings with cooperatives to discuss problems they are facing, while others are spent waiting for money from Kigali to actually conduct these visits. Still, other days are spent going over how to do things in MS Word or looking up the equivalent French or Kinyarwanda word to help colleagues write their reports in English, although few know it.
4. Grad School
Send GRE scores, fill out the FAFSA, write personal statements and essay questions, email people about letters of recommendation. For some reason I don’t remember any of these tasks when I applied to college for undergrad, but these are weighing on my mind more lately. This could explain the recent influx of coffee consumption as well. With applications coming online in the late August-early September I’m taking the next month to focus strictly on essay writing. Good thing Modern Family and The Office won’t be starting back up for a few more months.
5. Language
My kinyarwanda is decent, although it can always use some work. Working with my French tutor two nights a week is making all three languages swirl in my mind. I’m going to mu muji acheter MTN credit. At least people will know what I mean here. High school French comes back to me at times which is promising, although it’s nowhere near a level I feel comfortable stating on Facebook that I know. 7 more months of language classes coupled with Rosetta Stone should get me there.

The 10 months leading up to Peace Corps, I remember thinking about what would define my volunteer experience. Would I be at a health center in Senegal, a school in Tanzania, or possibly in some office in Togo? (Yes, I had this dream). Here I am with 10 months left wondering how these events will impact my community, how they will shape my memories of Rwanda, and how they will define my Peace Corps experience. With 16 months down and 10 to go, I know how time can fly. I just hope this list gets done before I have to decide before chicken or fish on the flight home.

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