Sunday, August 06, 2006

First, an update...

On June 9, 2006, 1218 days after first arriving in Madagascar, the staff at the Peace Corps Mission office in Madagascar sent a cable to the United States officially announcing my new status as Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and I walked out of that office and onto an airplane (actually, 4 airplanes) that eventually dumped me off at 10 pm on June 10.

So I have left Peace Corps behind – fondly, yes – but I have ended that chapter. But the adventure in Madagascar isn’t over yet –

At 10:30 pm on July 31, 2006 the same series of planes in reverse order returned me, déjà vu like, to that original starting point, but with a whole new perspective on my place in this country.

For the next six months (at least), I will be under private contract with the organization that sponsored my third year PCV position, doing the same thing in the same place, just for a little bit more money (like something rather than nothing). To help subsidize my life living on “something” (and to pad my résumé), I’m also working to pick up a half-time USAID contract to head up the field testing and development of a final draft edition for the Malagasy translation of all Peace Corps volunteers’ favorite book “Where There is No Doctor.” In the end, it’s my thanks to both of these organizations for helping me achieve my biggest personal goal over the next three months – to prove to myself that I can really do this on my own and without the safety net of Peace Corps below me. SantéNet is still doing an excellent job taking care of me, for which I am very appreciative, but it’s still nothing like the comparative coddling PC provides (dedicated medical care, transportation to and from country, ability and requisite experience to requisition helicopters from the president of Madagascar at moments of great need), so this time I’m left with much more the feeling that this is really up to me.

And so, here’s to the next 184 days in Madagascar and all the new perspectives that will come with it.

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