These two weeks mark the very stressful and somewhat scary walk into the unknown for the new group of future volunteers- also known as Post Visit.
Stage or training is a bit like being wrapped up in bubble wrap and being spoon fed for 10 weeks. In contrast, being at post is being shoved out of the birds nest on a high high cliff and hoping you fly. This two week post visit gives the trainees a chance to test their wings a bit first.
Many of the COS-ing volunteers are focused on their upcoming return to the USA and all the worries that accompany that and aren't necessarily in a great headspace to welcome the new and shiny trainees. In addition, camps are in session and people have been pulled away for that as well. All this to say that I have three future neighbors by me and I get to show them around a little bit and help them settle in.
One the the three, Luke , is at a new site and in a small village which means they very VERY excited for his arrival. I got to go over, check out his house and make sure it was ready for him. But the part that was way more fun was being there for his arrival.
The village pulled out all the stops and they held a proper ceremony for him. We danced, listened to many speeches, danced, listened to speeches and danced. And then we danced a little more. The village got a big kick at seeing me a Luke trying out traditional dances. And because they pulled out all the stops, it's forever in memory because they had a photographer and film being taken of the whole thing.
More than anything it showed me how far I've come in the last year. It's a really nice feeling to be able to take the lead, know what's going on and be able to help out the new volunteers. I could actually greet everyone and a little bit more in Ewe, I knew the format of the program and my dancing has improved. :)
I'm really happy to have made it this far and very happy to be here for the next year. I've certainly had more than my share of doubts about being here but I'm very content with my decision to stay and continue my work, moving towards bigger and better projects.