“So my mother told me she saw an article that said chimpanzees in Uganda are kidnapping toddlers. You know, because of deforestation,” I say to my sweet hubby at lunch after my exciting first colonoscopy, which was the final task on my extensive Peace Corps medical list (for which I prepped the night before by watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix), and for which he served as the designated driver home.
“I looked it up and it’s true,” I add. “They tear them open and eat their kidneys.”
Oh, too much. I said too much. I can tell by his slightly gagging reaction. I have to stop bringing this stuff up over lunch. And yet I can’t help concluding, “And since I’m small, I think it’s best that I avoid projects near chimpanzees.”
Add chimpanzees to crocodiles, hippos, and snail fever and toss in scorpions, snakes and sexual assault and you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what’s my biggest concern about serving in the Peace Corps as an Agribusiness Specialist in Uganda, leaving in June 2020. Hint: it’s not that to which I’m going (that will be the adventure, the challenge, the story). It’s what I’m leaving. And perhaps finalizing medical tasks during the holidays just drives it home even more how deeply I am going to miss these people I love.
And yet, here I am:
- Requesting a Grayl Geopress water bottle (as recommended by the nurse who gave me my Yellow Fever vaccination) for Christmas because it filters waterborne pathogens including rotavirus, hepatitis A, norovirus, giardiasis, cryptosporidium, E. coli, cholera, salmonella and dysentery;
- Selling my stacks of books (including the ones about alternatives to the Peace Corps that my husband gave me years ago when we were trying to figure out this calling of mine) to a place named Half Priced Books thirteen miles away because it’s the only place that pays cash instead of store credit and I won’t be here to use store credit;
- Asking my old karate sensei if he will give me a private self defense class focused purely on assault survival;
- Eliminating my beloved organic home garden (ouch) but with the knowledge that I will create a new garden — many gardens — where I am going (and maybe I’ll even get to keep chickens, finally).
All I need now are those emails saying I’ve received medical and legal clearances, and my government passport and visa. Then it’s full steam ahead, whatever that means.
Over the past two months, I’ve done all that I was asked to do, and all that I can do. So now I sit, and I wait.
And, thus, that’s a wrap on 2019, folks. And on this decade. And on this life as I know it.
See you in 2020, eventually perhaps Traveling at the Speed of Bike in a whole new place to explore and call home (for awhile).
My Peace Corps series of posts to date:
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