*** Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps. ***
You were. Really truly the best village, community, school that your girl could have asked for. Leaving you, especially so abruptly is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. For two years you were my safe haven. The place where I laughed with toddlers who had no idea what I was saying, kicked soccer balls across dusty fields, got frustrated when my learners wouldn’t listen, and escaped with a book as the sun melted into the horizon. For two years when I thought of home I thought of you, of runs to the silos, steaming hot days eased by a sticky ice guava, of stumbling bursts of Setswana as I ineptly attempted to express my thoughts.
Despite the difficult circumstances of my service I remained fully committed to completing my service to the very end. I couldn’t imagine leaving Magogong early, abandoning everyone who supported me. But sometimes things are beyond your control. Due to widespread unrest and general chaos throughout the region, Peace Corps has decided to pull us volunteers out of the province for our safety.
Which is how I found myself battling tears at my final assembly on Thursday. How I came to be clutching at goodbye notes from my learners as if they were lifeboats, distributing my accumulated goodies throughout the community and running into my host mom’s arms on the side of the road after thinking I’d missed my chance to say goodbye.
North West might have been a particularly tough and rural place to serve, the name of my village quite literally referring to the leftovers scraps that remain after cooking pap, but it was home. As thrilled as I am to leave the bucket baths and roaches behind, I will miss the glittering stars, thumbs ups from tiny hands, the quiet peace of home.
Tomorrow I board a plane bound for the US- to build a new home with new challenges and new joys. But know that when I think of home Magogong will always be a piece of that puzzle, a corner of the world that welcomed me, taught me, protected me until the end.