The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Relunctly Coming Home

I'm coming nearer and nearer my time to go home and it just gets harder and harder to actually leave.  I know I've spoken of these difficulties before, but because I can't exactly explain why it's so hard to leave I feel the need to continue to speak about it.  Here's one of the most difficult reasons I find to leave.

One of the kids that I know pretty well from my work at club Espoir during my 2 years here, recently retold a story how, after her two parents dying, and her then being placed with her Aunt, the Aunt then told her daughter, the cousin of the child, that the girl was HIV positive and she should tell everyone at school that she was HIV positive.  Aside from this extreme humiliation, the girl is also called a dog at the house, and is always the last one to be fed, if there is food that remains after everyone else eats that is.  Whenever she brings food home from the NGO that tries to take care of her, the family steals the food and sells it.  She's HIV positive through no means of her own, just simply by being born from HIV positive parents, and completely marginalized as a result of this.  She's only at the junior high level and extremely polite and surprisingly optimistic considering her situation.  Why I should leave and leave her in her situation and return to my comfortable situation just because I was born healthy and in a developed country is the reason I struggle to go home.  I come and I spend two years just befriending her but little to change her lively hood, then I leave to return to my comfortable lifestyle.

I wish I could bring her home with me, I wish I could bring many of them home with me.  Give them the opportunities that are available to them after all the money the U.S and other developed countries have spent on research. But it's not feasible, and it's also not feasible that I can bring this to their country.  As I see it there's not much I can do other than befriending them and telling them how special they are.  So then what happens to that after I leave?  The one ounce of anything I can do for them is removed and I only hope that there's someone else to fill it once I'm gone.  This is the reason I'm having such a hard time leaving.  I know my life is calling me else where for my own personal reasons, but I know I could do so much for a few children's self esteem by staying here. It's a decision I wish I didn't have to make, but it's one I have to make no matter what. The fact is, a cold as it sounds, there will always be suffering in this world, and no matter how much we like to ignore it, or pretend that it's deserved, that isn't always the case, many times it's just innocent children that suffer and there's not much we can do despite our best efforts.  Why a child should suffer through no fault of their own is beyond me, but that just seems to be the way of the world at this point.  I hope one day it can change, but I'm not too optimistic.  In the meantime, I hope we all do what we can to at least alleviate to some degree their suffering.  And for that I'm finding it really difficult to leave this country. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Years in Togo

Since arriving in Togo in 2010 I have had friends get married, friends get engaged, friends have babies, friends have miscarriages, grandparents die, parents divorced, family and friends move, and an ex-co-worker commit suicide. I’ve tried to stay in touch with my life back home as best as I could, but it hasn’t been easy and truthfully at times it was emotionally easier to not stay in touch than it was to stay in touch.
It feels like so much has changed, so much of life has passed during these two years. Yet somehow I feel like I haven’t aged a day or changed a bit. Everyone seems to think these two years in a different culture would have changed me, and maybe they have.  But I still feel like the same person and now that it’s time to go home I feel like I’m heading right back to where I came from.  And only now will I truly have to face all those changes that have occurred in my absence.  Part of me wants to stay here, stay in hiding, away from life’s pains, sorrows, and even happiness.  Part of me is anxious to get back and finally be a part of them.  
I’ve had my own life here in Togo, one that I have never been ably to fully explain to anyone not living it with me. I’m not sure it’s even something I can bring back and explain to my friends and family back home.  Now I’m torn with leaving behind what has become of my life to go back to the life I left behind two years ago.  I wish there were some way to merge the two, but I have yet to find the means to do so.  If I can’t merge the two, what was the point of coming and creating this life, only to leave it behind.  I search daily for the ways to bring it back, to mix it with my previous life to create something even better, but to date I’ve come up empty handed.