It seems that the closer I get to my Completion of Service Date (COS), the harder it is to write in this blog! The sad thing is, so much has happened and I've had so much to tell, but I just keep putting it off.
First, the big news; I have been granted an early COS, and I OFFICIALLY will be completing service and heading home to the U.S. on October 22, 2013! Since that date was set I have had a really hard time not counting down (83 days…); not that I won’t be sad to leave, but it feels like time for a change, and it’s felt that way for a while now. The only alarming thing is if I can’t handle a full two years in one spot without feeling restless, how on earth am I going to handle life back in the states?? Well, I’ll just have to find me a job that allows me to travel… a lot.
These past few months I've been busying myself with tree plantings, gardening projects, and best of all, Camp.
|Camp GROW 2013|
I discovered with last year’s camp, Camp Tigray, that being involved was one of the most rewarding experiences of my Peace Corps Service here in Ethiopia; so this year, I decided to be a little more involved and volunteered to be the Finance Officer. This meant creating all the camp and meeting budgets, coordinating all the purchasing and contracting, and managing anything money related. While last year I taught sessions and got to know campers as a group leader, this year I spent a lot of time behind the scenes making sure supplies were in place, people got paid, and transportation ran smoothly. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the position, and would volunteer again in a heartbeat. Camp was a huge success, and despite a few little hiccups here and there, it ran very smoothly. The five of us Administrative staff (Camp President, Secretary, Finance Officer, Logistician, and Programming/M&E Officer) were a great team and worked well together.
|PCVs and Counterparts of Camp GROW 2013|
The best part about this year’s camp, was that we held the region’s first ever Environment camp called camp GROW (Growing and Renewing our World), and taught the campers to “Discover the Circle of Life”. We had sessions on ecosystems, microorganisms, sanitation and hand washing, geography, tree planting, perma-gardening, wildlife, nutrition and proper food preparation, and environmental problems and how humans are a part of it. We took a day trip to a nearby nature park, had a presenter come from Addis to teach about new gardening techniques, and at the end, each town created an action plan for a project to improve their own communities.
From my town I brought two campers and a junior counselor (one of my campers who attended last year) and I watched my two campers come to camp shy, timid, and unsure of their English, only to watch them leave with confidence, knowledge, and a determination to make a difference in their community; that, more than anything else made my time worth every moment.
One final post before I leave Ethiopia for good? 'It is possible', and I am determined to make it happen! Stay tuned...