By Tim, Volunteer (Staj 101)
As I write this, I am sitting in a café that was once filled with moments of laughter between myself and my wonderful CBT group. We met here regularly for meetings, and always remarked how nice it was. I am drinking orange juice, as I would every time we met. Together, we established ourselves in this community, and worked to create a program centered around the needs and wants of our students. The girls usually drank cappuccinos, but our LCF always ordered a black coffee with half of the normal amount of sugar. I have vivid memories of him walking in, still groggy from his afternoon nap, and conversations about our host families and what we ate for lunch. Now, I am drinking orange juice. It tastes sweet, but it may never taste quite as good as when accompanied by friends and loved ones.
Some would say that I am fortunate. I have been placed in my CBT site for the next two years of service with the Peace Corps. I was sworn in two days ago, and I have been in site since. I have spoken with government officials, and begun fleshing out the logistics of my program in my local Dar Shebbab. I have meetings scheduled for the entirety of the week to come, and have a fairly detailed two month plan. Unlike my peers, I have already completed my needs assessment for my community, have already integrated, and already have a strong sense of who my community is, and what they desire from me.
Nevertheless, a part of me has been taken with my CBT mates. As they left to be spread out across Morocco, I remain. I walk the same streets where children used to run up to Fiona and hug her tightly, where Youness would fend off those who tried to harass us, and where I had long conversations about my fears for the coming months. I never expected that I might stay. That I might be asked to face my own internal struggle with loneliness and abandonment. Or that a place where I once found such joy amidst chaos could become so isolating.
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