Here we go.
Whelp, here we go. I'm about to head back to the village for, in theory, the last time. Tomorrow my move out car will come to get me and my stuff. I feel strangely calm at the moment. I'm sure that'll pass.
This past week was live in, when all the current trainees go out to their villages for a week before going back to Hamdy to wrap up their training. A current volunteer usually spends the first night with them in the village just to make sure everything is ok before abandoning the newbie. I've done a few of these live in things over the last couple years, but doing one in my own village with Liz (my replacement) was very strange. One of the major differences is that in another village, I'm just as out of place as the new volunteer, so I can share in their apprehension and excitement. The only difference is that I have more language and comfort in the culture. In my village, on the other hand, I'm so comfortable and confident that it's hard to think of all the questions and fears the new volunteer might have, but be too overwhelmed to be worrying about just yet. I know where the well, or the best families to eat with, or the nicest villagers all are, but it doesn't always occur to me to show them to the newbie. Though it is also kind of fun to watch Liz and be reminded of what it was like when the village was new to me.
Also, because it's my house and my life for the past two years, and I'm handing it over to her, I can't help but be afraid of how everything reflects on me. Is my house to messy? Do I treat my cats poorly? Is it bad that I can't remember every villagers name (they often go by five different names)? I know she has other things on her mind, but I get really self conscious about things like that. Djimi put it really well when he pointed out that it's kind of like if, in the states, when someone was moving into your old apartment, you not only handed them the keys and maybe a couple pieces of furniture you don't want anymore, you also give them your job, your pets, your friends, your life. I know everyone does things differently but I just can't help but thinking of it as "this is my life and now she's gonna do everything differently and mess it all up!" I know it's not true, but it's hard.
I know Liz will be a great fit in my village. That doesn't make handing over the keys, so to speak, any easier. Most of the time I was there with her, the villagers all just wanted to talk about how awesome I am and how their going to miss me. While this was flattering, and makes me realize how much tomorrow is really going to hurt, it was not good for Liz. So I made a more dedicated than usual effort to only stay the one night. I knew she and the village would get adjusted to eachother much better/faster if I wasn't there. Part of that is that being a female volunteer, she will form some completely different relationships with everyone, and I can't even begin to know how to help her integrate that way. I don't hang out with the women much, so I really don't have and friendships to hand over to her. Meanwhile, I know that my male friends will not all see her as a new me, but rather as a potential girlfriend, which is not ok.
After talking to Liz yesterday, when she passed through on her way back to Hamdy, I know she will be happy there. It already sounds like she's more outgoing than I was, which makes me feel some regret that I wasn't the best volunteer I could have been. Hearing all the little things that she found intimidating, or hilarious, or just amusing really makes me sad that I'm leaving. I don't know what I'm gonna do. But I'll let you all know how it goes.