Day 1 — I sat at the breakfast table – tired eyes, a pounding headache, and sweat dripping down my back – with a rooster staring back at me and chicks scurrying over my feet. I closed my eyes and the only thought I could muster was “you can do this, you can do this, you can do this.”
Day 63 — I can survive heat that makes me feel like I have a fever; I can wash my hair and body with a few cups of water; I can open a coconut without spilling its juice; I can remove t-shirt stains with my bare hands; I can boulder across the island; I can pick out the minuscule bones of a whole fish; and I can integrate myself into an entirely new culture, language and people. Although I thought I would never get used to eating rice three times a day, I am realizing that this is not the most difficult part of my service. You can get accustomed to just about anything. The hard part still remains — now what? What will my 6-year old, Cape Verdean nephew do for work in twenty years? What if the rainy season doesn’t come next year? What if the soil remains unfertile and my village is unable to grow crops?
Saturday officially marks the beginning of my service as a PC volunteer. As I move out of my village, I am left with a growing feeling of frustration and guilt. I know my family is malnourished and I know that one day, growing corn and beans will not be enough. Yet, what now?