Not Knowing



September 26,2002

Not Knowing

The uncertainty of our future bears down on us like a heavy weight, rendering us unable to do much more than think about it and hope it goes away.  Like walking through molasses, it's hard to get anything done and every activity seems cumbersome and trivial. We're glued to one place and don't even know what's going on back home in Cote d'Ivoire.  The constant reminders of our life as it was and not knowing what it will be keep us sitting on the edge with nervous tension, waiting.  Every day we wait - we wait to hear something new, but they just tell us to stay put and they'll let us know what to do later.  Our conscious battles back and forth between the ideal of being returned to our villages and the reality of the likelihood of our evacuation from the country.

It's so hard to fathom going to the States without closure - all the missed goodbyes, the packing not done, the bank accounts left open, our valuables left behind, projects halfway finished.  A sudden re-emergence into a society of 9-5 jobs, high rent and car payments leaves an ill feeling in my gut.  We were supposed to have another year to prepare for re-entry.  We're not supposed to worry about finding a new job, a place to live, a means of transport, winter clothes.  We're supposed to be thinking about educating the illiterate in a Third World country, sharing meals with our neighbors, watching the construction of a water tower you and the village worked so hard to get started.  Will Julien and Keyetou continue to go to night class? And what about the garden you planted with the women's coop? Will you ever see them eat colorful bell peppers for the first time? Or make fresh tomato sauce with new herbs?

What about Assarata?  She was gaining so much weight and could hold her head up on her own, laugh and smile, play with toys - she was on the road to a healthy life thanks to a simple mixture of powdered milk, sugar, and oil.  Will I ever see her grow strong enough to walk on her own?

There are so many loose ends left untied and I quickly become overwhelmed thinking about it.  And all these thoughts are premature, as we are still in the dark. We sit idle in a village in a foreign country far away from our fellow PCV's. 

Even though we're out of the loop here in Ghana, Pat and I count our blessings numerously throughout the day, as well as when we lie awake at night, that we were lucky enough to be outside of the country when it erupted into trouble.  Many of our friends back in Cote d'Ivoire are confounded to small quarters with limited food and water, with no freedom to roam the streets, and lie awake to the sounds of gunfire and shelling so nearby. I simply look forward to a peaceful closure of this incredibly tense and uncertain time in our Peace Corps service.