Rules for Surviving Peace Corps #1- Flexibility

22 Nov

Every single one of my Returned PCV friends told me before I left that anything you think you know about Peace Corps will change. And I said, haha yup, of course, flexibility I get it. And they said, no really. And I said, ok whatever. Then I went back to my microbrew. Those were the days.

They were right. When I first had my interview many months ago I was told one thing, the invitation that showed up in the mail said Ethiopia. Three weeks ago, I was told my site placement was a city called Dessie, yesterday I found out they are moving me to Gonder.

Luckily I am still in training and haven’t fully set up yet in my site. If they were going to switch me to a small town somewhere and I couldn’t do communication technologies I would have stayed in Dessie, but I still get to work with the AIDS Resource Center regional office in Gonder, and it’s still a big city. In fact, if the stats are the same and it’s safer than works for me!

Here are the pros:

–          I get to fly there (as cool as 8 hour bus rides are…)

–          It is near WAY more PCVs

–          It is a tourism hub with the castles and on the Aksum, Lalibella loop (Wikipedia that shit!) Also, it will be WAY easier for anyone to visit me and see the cool things in Ethiopia and visit my site at the same time! And you can fly from Addis for super cheap (like $40).

–          There are a lot more NGOs working there and international orgs so I can make more professional contacts

–          Apparently some American and British med schools do research there-  cute English med student expats, yes please

–          It’s near Bahar Dar and Lake Tana, which is supposed to be beautiful

–          Also near the Simien Mountains, and they have monkeys! (clearly this should have been pro #1)

The Cons:

–          It will be a logistical nightmare getting my stuff (including a mattress and bed frame) from Dessie to Gonder

–          New PO Box stuff will be delayed

–          With so many international orgs and tourists, I will have that much harder of a time integrating (but I just have to know going in that I will have to try hard to keep up with the language and limit my ferenji interaction so I don’t become dependent)

–          Unknowns of no house yet or counterpart

–          Meeting awesome people in East Amhara region and having to tell them I am moving

So ultimately this is probably a good change. However, the timing and mental 180 I had to do this week though were more than frustrating. But, at least I’m (re)learning the flexibility lesson early, as I’m sure I will be relearning again and again over the next two years.

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