Figuring things out

Family and Friends,

Let me start of by saying how much I miss you all. I usually don’t like to linger on the hardships here throughout my posts and e-mails, but it has definitely been a hard month full of doubt, questions and missing awesome events in the US (Decade party, Rock the Bells, or the death of Bernie Mac…hahaha). I don’t know how to put it, but it feels like a turning point in my service here. The make or break point. It’s been long enough where I feel like I’ve been here for a while, but not long enough where I know I’ll be going home soon. And despite the adventure and awesome things I’m learning, I also learn how important home is, how lucky I am and how much family and friends were the cornerstone of my life.

So like I said before, make or break point. This is important in what I’m doing here. All the things I’ve been talking about so far have been small projects as I get acquainted with Peace Corps and the Gambia. However, some of teh more exciting projects have not got off the ground, so now I’m getting ancy…I need something to work towards, a goal. So although the same sort of events are occuring I’m trying to put them in the background and try to focus on something that I really want to do. I mean, how often does a man have a chance to really do anything he wants? All they ask is that it helps the village. I’m not sure yet, but right now I’m playing with the idea of music. If I could get a community radio station or start a local group, help local artists put their name out, get drama groups to perform on important topics and roll it all in with some sort of income generation, that would be awesome. It’s a work in progress. On a side note, this idea came from a friend who lives in a larger village that has a radio station at her site and she invited to do a show there. I think I will do a hip-hop show featuring songs that can relate to the Gambian life here, such as promotion of self-esteem (think, Blackstar – Brown Skin Lady), learning (KRS-One – You must learn) and love (Lauryn Hill – To Zion).

Another things I’m getting involved in is training of new volunteers. I am also extremely excited about this. I think it’s really important for us to have a solid training ground, because it is something so different, exciting, strange and scary that I really wanted to help in this endeavour. So now I am taking on a large role in the training here, albeit a role that will allow me to learn how it works, so that next year I can basically be the one to carry on the torch of knowledge. Getting involved in the administration of Peace Corps is another way I hadn’t though about helping. But there is so much potential for growth of our services that it is an exciting prospect to take advantage of.

So, to sum it all up, it’s been a difficult month. However, I am trying hard to see it as a growing pain where not only will my character is growing but my understanding of my role here is too. As dad would say, “Suck it up.” Or Aaron, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” or “Trudge on” or “No pain no gain.” hahahahahaha….oh another thing is that a survival technique I’ve come up with is to allow myself a large margin of eccentricity. Anyways, hopefully next time we speak I’ll be busy with a really awesome project and on my way to enlightenment.

Until then, I love you all and miss you more than a fat kid miss food on a diet.

Alex

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2 responses

  1. I could only imagine how you might be missing home. I know that most people could not, will not even try to, serve the world as you have chosen to do. I am proud of you beyond words and when I speak to family, friends, or colleagues about your experience there, they are awed by your character. Your project sounds great and I hope it gets off ground soon. I know you will learn a valuable lesson in any project you launch. Keep up the great work. I miss you much, especially your laughter…

  2. Hey Alex, I know it’s been a while. For what it’s worth, I just wanted to say I know it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but you are doing what you should be doing right now. And I think you will be an excellent person to help initiate future trainees and provide direction to Peace Corps programs in The Gambia. You have got a good head on your shoulders, you should use it to help improve this program.Keep up the good work.-Harinder

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