Friday, January 21, 2011

THE CALL----A Continuing Story

Evacuation was definitely a curve in the road Dave and I had not expected, but it could have been worse. We had only been in our village one week so relationships had not been firmed up as they had with other volunteers who’d served for 6 months or 1 ½ years. These mostly young people were even more affected emotionally than we were. We were bummed by the idea of the AQIM and other unsavory types of people who perpetrate crimes toward others being able to disrupt our dream of service in the Peace Corps. We were saddened by the separation which was ahead for our Stage of fellow Peace Corps volunteers. We were concerned for the people of Niger who were losing the support of Peace Corps volunteers and other NGO workers who had a presence in their country for years. Personally, we were concerned because we were basically now “homeless”. Our plans were to finish 27 months of service with the Peace Corps and then to re-evaluate our life’s direction at that time. If our service is now interrupted for a lengthy period of time we will need to re-examine our commitment and responsibilities and figure out what to do, while we hang out somewhere. (Look out¸ Chris and Dottie and Flora!! We may be headed your way.)

During the tightly run transition conference our group had ample time to see parts of Rebat, Morocco, including a historic fort dating back to pre-Roman times. Many people got their first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean with its crashing wave, blue water and full moon overhead. The Madina Market was a shopper’s paradise and many volunteers took advantage of great buys in shoes, wood products, pashmina, and other items to take as gifts to those at home. The bottom line though is that we had all suffered a loss and were going through the steps of resolving that loss in our own way. Dave and I will be returning to the US to await a new assignment so that we can complete our commitment to Peace Corps service. Others will be leaving immediately for posts needing their technical and language skills right away. Another group of people will be taking advantage of a new Peace Corps program, expedited return to service, just created during this large evacuation of volunteers. These lucky PCV’s will be leaving for their posts in a relatively short time and were selected due to very specific country requests matched with their qualifications and interests.

So, how do we feel about this evacuation? We agree with the decision made by the Peace Corps Bureau and are grateful for their concern about volunteer safety and security. We understand the complexity of placing couples with differing skills and resumes. We can’t help but be disappointed that our volunteer service has been suspended for the time being, but we are still determined to pursue the next challenge and future assignment with the Peace Corps.

A majority of our group will leave for the Casablanca Airport tonight and will then fly to varying destinations, enroute to new challenges and opportunities in new countries. Many of us will have the time back in the US to re-group before receiving new assignments. Other brave members of our Stage will leave directly from Morocco for posts readily available. Wherever each of us chooses to go, we will be going to continue our service in the name of peace. Please stay tuned……………………………..our journey is definitely not over.

Judy and Dave

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure you look forward to many more meaningful chapters in your time with the Peace Corps, but you have already had quite an adventure--leaving home, training in Niger and learning a new language, meeting all the other PCVs and your new villagers and then being evacuated to Morocco--not bad for a few months! All the best to you as you travel forward...Lynne