My dear readers,
This will most likely be my last Peace Corps blog entry. From this point forward, this blog will revert to its original theme: technology-themed commentary on just about everything.
As many of you know, I recently decided to head back home after just over a year of service in my rural community in the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. I've been home for almost exactly two weeks and I finally feel ready to write about some of my experiences and my reasons for not opting to stay another year.
Before I delve into my reasons, I would like to mention that my exit interview with our Country Director (CD) was very cathartic for me. I was able to share some of my concerns about the program and I feel that, even though we may have disagreed on some minor points, the CD was very understanding and receptive of my feedback about the program. I am satisfied that he has a good idea of what the most pressing problems are for PCVs and that steps are already being taken to rectify my most pressing concerns. Throughout the process I was treated very well by the staff.
Therefore, I will not dwell on the negative. Why did I call it after a year? To put it simply: I ran out of things to do. I realized that if I were to spend another year in the town, I would accomplish very little, and this was unacceptable to me. A shark has to keep swimming or it dies from oxygen deprivation; I can sympathize. This was a very difficult decision but I realized that it was necessary in order to maintain my mental health.
Do I regret serving as a PCV? Not a bit. My goal coming in was to change the life of one individual, and I can honestly say that I did that and more. I participated in the founding of two different businesses, I taught English and ran a school garden for the better part of a year. I donated a projector and a printer to a school that previously had none. I was (hopefully!) a positive influence on many school-kids. And most importantly, I brought home a basketball championship to my parish. I was able to explore a beautiful and diverse country and forge relationships that will last my lifetime.
I'll never forget my community, and how kind people were to me. I hope to lead my life in the states with the same humility and grace that my friends in Ecuador exemplified. I stay in contact with my closest friends via Skype and plan to continue to do so.
Last but not least: I am very proud of my fellow PCVs who will continue serving another year. Many of them are making profound personal sacrifices for the ideals they believe in, and we should do everything we can to help them out. Please keep in mind that there are many deserving projects listed on the peace corps partnership program
page; donations are tax-deductible.
I will end with a quote, one that got me through many tough days:
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
-- Mahatma Gandhi