It's officially been a month since my plane landed at JFK, ending my Peace Corps adventure and reuniting me with the great country of America, so it felt like time for an explanation. I wasn't going to post anything on her about my decision to resign, or in PC lingo early terminate, but this weekend I was at an event with family and friends who were consistently shocked to see me back on this side of the world and thought maybe an official announcement to the cyber world was in order. Also, this blog is linked to peacecorpsjournals.com where I know a lot of people considering joining peace corps go to try and understand the culture before they join and sadly, early termination is definitely a part of the culture. While I won't comment here on my own reasons for leaving, except to say that it was a decision to leave Rwanda and not Peace Corps, my issues were all specific to the culture, my site, and my personal situation. They in no way reflect on the operation or mission of PC Rwanda which I still support with all my heart. Let me say a few things about Early termination, for all those of you thinking of joining PC. First of all it was painless, I arrived at my bosses office in Kigali and very calmly told her I wished to resign. Since I had shown up in person without any previous discussion she asked me to sit and explain myself, but also this was the moment of no return. No one in pc staff after that point tried to talk me into staying - which I appreciated whole heartedly. I then had 72 hours to get my medical exams and paperwork finished before I had to get on a plane home. My fellows PCVs also responded with nothing but understanding to what was a surprising decision to them as well. I have met a handful of people in PC who chose to stay long past the point where they were happy in their decision to be in country, people who were staying simply to say that they finished their 2 year commitment and while I understand the urge, that kind of stubborness isn't my nature and I had no desire to do it. From my fellow pcv's the response I got most often to my decision to leave was respect. Many people told me they hoped they had the courage to leave once they realized that had crossed that point, because they too knew people who had chosen to stay. It's hard to quit PC and when I quit I had no plan. I just knew I had to be anywhere but Rwanda and literally 24 hours after I resigned the next 3 years of my life fell into place perfectly leading me to believe once and for all that I had made the right choice (more on that later). So now I have a plan, and a new apartment, and a new city to explore but Rwanda has taken up permanent residence in my heart. Despite not finishing two years of service the 8 months I did do have changed forever my outlook on the world. And even without finishing I still find myself constantly engaging in PC's 3rd goal of explaining Rwanda to Americans - an especially important tasked as I've learned how poorly understood the genocide is here - which makes me feel like I haven't abandoned Rwanda entirely, I'm just helping it in the only way I can for the time being.
I plan to post a few more times on where I am now and final reflections on service, but I wanted to start with this.
Once and for all Rwanda Turi kumwe (we are together) but it's time for me to move on.