I have been gone since last Monday. First to my Regional In-Service Training in Kita, then to Bamako to see a dear friend home, and now I have to wait around to get a mole removed. It is most likely nothing serious, but I can never be too careful as melanoma is in my family. I know that being out for health reasons is completely legitimate, and with all the physical and mental stress that comes with this job, my health has to come first. BUT, I can’t help but feel guilty for being away; feel like I am not doing enough, not doing all that I can to help these people and this place that I have come to love. Site guilt plagues many volunteers, and it is something that, for me at least, is always luring in the background. I will most likely have to deal with these feelings till the end of my two years, feelings of uselessness and inadequacy, like I am letting my village down. Some days these fears cloud my mind completely and are usually compounded when I am away from site. So, today just happens to be one of those days.
Bear with me as I bemoan in hopes that it will ease my mind.
I miss running after Hamadi my 1 ½ year old little brother who has just begun to speak. His first word was my name.
I miss joking and chatting with my grandmother, Nandi, after dinner every night.
I miss Yah, my 12 year old best friend who comes over every evening to help me water my garden after which we get all sticky and messing eating a papaya.
I even miss my elderly neighbor, my togoma (someone who shares the same name as you) Sira who gives me a hard time about everything.
I miss the simplicity of it all: waking up at dawn, going to bed with the setting sun and filling the in-between spending time with some really amazing people in a truly wonderful place.