I feel like since I joined Peace Corps I have been saying goodbyes from the moment I left California. On the plus side, I’m always meeting new people and making new friends whether it be a new Peace Corps volunteer or a friend in town and even in the village. So, I guess its not a bad thing until your saying goodbye to the people you have formed close friendships in your service. My friends in the states were my number one support system and I never imagined I could have that and even more here in Zambia. The relationships you form here are key for support, especially on the dark days. A simple text from a friend or a greeting from a villager can easily put a smile on your face. Or just the simplicity and fun of laughing with a friend.
In my first year of service I have learned so much about myself including the good and the bad. Its never easy to accept your faults; It’s even harder trying to fix them. One thing that has helped me grow are the friendships that I have formed here. As much as this is a “self-fulfilling” journey, its also a time to embrace it with others. I always enjoyed the quote from the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, “Happiness is not real unless shared with others.” Of course, you can still be happy doing things alone, but having someone by your side always makes it so much sweeter. Whether its hitch hiking and traveling for 14 hours, it’s always nice to have someone by your side to make you laugh when your patience is wearing thin. This is another Peace Corps moment, but its nice to actually just talk to someone who will actually listen and respond to you, unlike your wall spider in your hut. Being able to look back and laugh at memories together is so much easier with another person.
When friends here come and go it’s hard to swallow. You can’t imagine your service without them because that is all you have known. Just as you are getting closer, someone has to say goodbye and remain, while the other is off to start a new journey in life. That’s life right? Saying hello, then goodbye. Sometimes I think this isn’t “real life” here. In reality, its a an even more challenging, but great life. There are just a lot more extremes it feels like. We actually have time to reflect on our life here and try to make a better one. Life isn’t easy no matter where you live. What matters the most is to try to make others better and surround yourself with people who love and care for the person you are. To all my friends who have come and gone here in Zambia, I can’t thank you enough for the memories and laughs we have shared. And to all my friends who are still with me in this 27 month journey, we still have so many more laughs and memories to come in these next 10 months.