It's been a few months since I've updated. It's been a few months plus some since I sent a mass email home. My journal, which I once picked up once or twice a week to contribute to, has been sitting on a wooden box collecting inches of terra that somehow manages still to filter through the wooden slats in my window and coat everything inside in a film of heated dust.
There's an interesting conversation that I've had with numerous volunteers here about the best way to finish our two years of service in Cape Verde. I remember my roommate last year, before she left in September, obstinately refusing to think about the fact that she had one month, one week, one day, one hour left in-country. She was still rearranging her suitcases when the car pulled up to the front of our house to take her to the airport. I have a lot of respect for that.
Many people I know this year, myself included, have already started to think about that next step. For those who don't know, all volunteers were consolidated on their respective islands back in January and told that Cape Verde was one of five posts in the world that was chosen to close. This doesn't impact my service in theory, as the post closes in September and I'll be leaving in August, having completed my full 24 months. The volunteers who arrived in-country this past June will have to relocate. Education volunteers are going to Mozambique, the Small-Enterprise Development volunteers are already leaving the country, heading to Colombia, Benin or Togo. They call it "graduating." As though we finished what we set out to do and the country is ready to go on without us. As for me, I have yet to hear that opinion from any Cape Verdean, but this is how it goes.
I don't know if it's the knowledge that we're to be the final legacy of Cape Verde, or the chasm that appeared between some first years and second years when we all uniformly realized that we wouldn't be sharing the experiences that we thought, a promise that unites volunteers as family before we're even known to each other. For me, a lot of the disconnect came in knowing that I would have to explain to my neighbors and friends that no one else would be coming. Santa won't have anyone to keep her food refrigerated or recharge her batteries. Ja won't be able to wash her clothes in the dry months. Beto and Maxi, from Guinea Bissou, won't have a confidant when the racism gets to be too much and they want to talk about home. I feel myself pulling away in preparation for the massive goodbye that I'll be facing in less than two months now. The question "when do you leave?" is on everyone's tongue, and I don't want to hear it.
I'm ready for the next thing. I feel bad that I am. I have learned so much in my time here. An unbelievable amount has changed. Excitement, euphoria, boredom, heartbreak, anger, sadness, growth, healing, re-thinking, developing, disappointment, pity, readiness. Life has followed the swallow's path, always diving, skirting, quickly dancing from one point to the next, returning back home and jetting out again. I've been awestruck by life's ability to regenerate happiness from the ashes of lost things. I've been shocked by people who set things on fire to begin with and think that what they've done is normal. But in the end, I don't feel I've compromised myself. It's a small thing. Some of the most important things are.
Trust me, I will miss Fogo! I have nightmares about leaving, just sitting at the airport with my two suitcases waiting with a lump in my throat for the plane to arrive. The idea of no longer calling this little green house my home makes me incredibly sad. But I'm grateful for what I've been given and what I've been taught, and it's time to take everything back to the States.
The next two months will fly by, and there's a chance that this will be the last post I write from Cape Verde. I will update about my two projects that are coming together right now, probably once my service is over.
For those in the States, I'll see you soon.