The conference was filled with deep sighs, dramatic pauses form the orators, and sarcastic quips from all the usual suspects, myself included. Despite having four members of the Peace Corps Niger staff in Morocco with us, we nonetheless felt the presence and direction of the “transition team,” mostly composed of staff from D.C., to be overwhelming. I commend them for their efforts; they did a great job with a shitty situation. Tondi, Valerie (Country Director), Walter, and Jenelle were also going through a loss, and for this reason, Washington decided to put them in charge of only simple tasks, for fear of them getting emotional, I suppose.
Paperwork was filled out, medical sessions and interviews conducted, and summaries of our service written. All in all, major life decisions were given 72 hours to resolve themselves. The options were as follows: 1) close your PC Niger service, receiving most of the benefits of being an RPCV (returned peace corps volunteer), and call it quits, move on with your life, 2) close your PC Niger service, (PC pays your plane ticket home of course) and re-enroll, planning to wait 3-6 months to get a new assignment and starting fresh but all over again, a full 27 months, 3) sign up to be considered for one of a handful of positions for direct transfer, … … you know what, I’m going to spare you the details. Just know that there were a lot of things to consider, very little time, and everything was up in the air. Many people went home, some knowing that once home they probably wouldn’t be willing to “waste” three to six months waiting for a new position (we’ll see what unemployment does for those friends though) working with as little as 1500USD of readjustment allowance. So, a few of us opted for a newly crafted option called ERS (expedited return to service). Meaning: we would bypass the re-enrollment rigmarole and be put into a PST as early as March 1st, which is when my particular program in Costa Rica will begin.
All of these decisions were to be finalized on Wednesday the 19th of January and there was much talk of the necessity for the ‘stars to align’ in order for a direct transfer or an ERS to work out. Now, it just so happens that January 19th was a full moon. I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, I might be a mystic, but not superstitious. However, I have seen the moon shape the tides and I’ve seen a total eclipse of the sun, as well as the effects they have on the human spirit, and it seems utterly stressful to make such an important decision on this full moon. But, when I exited the hotel and walked down the alleyway toward the payphone to call home, I looked up and there was the brilliant moon herself, larger than usual and as full as can be. I felt her power and was grateful. For others, to be sure, the stars did not align… at least not as they had hoped. In my humble and ridiculous opinion all things in this world are always and eternally in their right place; call it fate, call it destiny, (don’t call it causality or determinism) I won’t give it a name, because to give it a name is to tarnish its perfection. Let yourself melt into it and it into you, for it cannot be symbolized.
Tune into my new blog address: http://jesusdigsthebass.blogspot.com , for the next chapters in my adventures. We are all connected in ways we shouldn’t know.