I feel a bit like Bilbo right now. Tolkien writes, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
I've been swept off, but not where I expected to be. Let me fill you in. Just over a week ago, I received my site assignment. A primary school in a small town, Okahao. I was very excited to go see it, and a week ago Saturday, I took an 11 hour bus ride and then another hour by car. I saw the house and the community, met the principle and the pastor (the school is run by the church).
But that night, I had to give heed to something I had felt since arriving in Namibia. That I did not feel safe. Seeing the community and meeting everyone only added to this rather than taking it away (which is what I thought would happen). I wrestled with it all night. The next morning, I went to church and met a wonderful Christian from India. She took me home for lunch and we talked, well, I cried and she counseled me. Turns out, she was in Namibia as a social worker and counseling is her business. I also got to meet some other volunteers in the area. And by the time I got back to the pastor's home, I was ready to try to stay for two years.
However, I had no peace in my soul. I ended up going to stay with Rashmi (the Indian vol) and talked to my supervisor. I explained to her that I hadn't felt safe in Namibia and seeing my site made it worse. I called my dad later that day. In his wonderful wisdom he told me, "You are the only one who has seen it and you are the only one who can decide." And that is true. The next day, I went to the school and still felt the same.
So, I made the very difficult decision not to stay in Namibia and be a Peace Corps volunteer.
I don't pretend to understand the journey I've been on (and to tell the truth, I'm still on). But I have learned many things. I know in my heart that Namibia is not where I am most needed at this time. That's not to say that going was wrong. On the contrary, I think I needed to go there to understand it is not where I belong. And I learned a lot about myself in the last month.
I am not sure at this moment what tomorrow holds. I still feel like I will do Peace Corps, somewhere besides Namibia (and maybe not even in Africa, I don't know). There are some things I have to do here at home, first.
Yes, I'm at home. After 32 hours of travel and three plane rides, I am back in Colorado. And while I'm back where I started, it's not the same. I am not the same. One volunteer said "Maybe you have learned in three weeks what it takes most of us a year or two to figure out." Maybe, maybe not. I do know that my sojourning isn't quite done.
Please feel free to email me if you have thoughts or questions. And please, keep praying for me and what God has in store.