Thursday, May 1, 2014


The nostalgia is setting in... the reality of leaving this place behind is, well, a reality.

Projects are being wrapped up, and I've even taken things off of my walls.  I have started to think about which items I will give to whom and how I will manage to fit everything in a backpack and a suitcase.  And about what is going to happen after this, and it is sort of back to square one?

I declined an acceptance to graduate school in NYC for various reasons and have decided to plant myself for a bit in our nations capital with my best friend life partner Kimberly, where I will hopefully be working at an aid organization, with a human rights focus, more specifically maternal mortality.  But none of that is set in stone- that is just a tentative trajectory and if I have learned anything in the Peace Corps, it is I certainly need to have a plan B.  Well I don't yet, and..whatever.

I haven't posted in so long and so many things have happened; my mother and sister have come to visit, the last Christmas here was had.  I celebrated the last birthday I will be here for with my host brother Leandro and I know we both felt the somber undertone of it all.  As much as it is starting to hit me now, leaving my home, because this is my home now, I know none of them are ready to face that. Peace Corps is the hardest thing I will ever do in my life (most likely)...but it will never be this easy again. Hoards of gringos to call at any minute who need no explanation of your horrible day in site but are so willing to listen and pour you another one while doing so.  All of us together, at any time. We won't have that again, ever.  It is something worth noting.  For me anyways.

It has made me an emotionally unstable lunatic (if it is possible to be more so than before) going through this process of leaving, trying to finish everything.  I had to take a shower this morning to pull myself together after a little girl who doesn't go to school asked me to fix to her sandal while I was painting a mural.  I took her to my house, tried as best as I could to fix it, used a lot of duct tape and it was wearable.  She was happy as a clam pouncing out of the house, and I lost my damn mind.  Sure I fixed her shoe, but I knew it was only going to be a matter of hours before it broke again, and I hated it. But, recently I have had to change my definition of success here, and the the smile of a child, here, is above almost everything. So if that is the measure now, I already won today.

It isn't over yet, I still have a little over 2 and a half months but they are mostly spoken for.  Close of service conference in Lima starting this weekend, coming back, Colombia in June and I am out in July.  I am now watching the health promoters I trained through a sexual education program give lectures to their own peers, and they are nailing it. I am so proud of them, of us. Of all of it.  I don't want to take this last little time for granted, although, I am ready for the change.  I just don't know which one?

So I guess this was just an update...going to try and make a serious effort to keep this up to date for my last few months.  Now I leave you with the most quintessential Peace Corps photo of all time.

Con amor-


  1. Beautiful Mandy, just like yourself. You know I will always be there and yes it's going to be a difficult but exciting adjustment. You've been through one of the toughest periods of your life, very few people have the strength and courage to do what you and your friends have done and almost completed! You have never backed away from a new adventure - this next phase will be no different. I love you more than life itself and can't wait to see what you accomplish next.

  2. So proud of you Mandy, don't have the words to say.....