The subject line says it all. While this probably won't be my last blog entry, this will definitely be my last blog entry as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. Words can't even express what the experience has been or how this has affected me. Reading this blog is probably one of the best ways to capture how I've felt. I know that the effects the Peace Corps has had on my life will be evident in the months and years to come when I'm back home in the U.S. I'll be somewhere and something will instantly remind me of Burkina Faso. Or I'll strike up a conversation with a random stranger or friend, and conjure up images of life abroad.
Luba and I. Luba is in the newest group of Peace Corps trainees here in Burkina Faso and is my replacement! We were fortunate to meet up because we were in Ouaga at the same time (funny how things work out in life). She was there to meet her community counterpart (who is coincidentally my friend, Nazaire) and I was there to complete my service in Ouaga.
Some of the Peace Corps Burkina Faso staff during our COS (Close of Service) ceremony.
The five of us that were COSing: myself, Colette, Julie, Marita and Rachel.
Colette and I. In it together and finishing strong together!
With Mariam, one of my favorite people in the Peace Corps Burkina Faso office! She's so hilarious.
With Brenda, one of my Peace Corps faves (and fellow Californian)!
With Emily at the Transit House. Loves!!
With Armande, another favorite. Such a great resource at the office!
With Paré, one of the drivers.
And with Shannon, our Country Director. Such a dynamic and experienced woman! What an inspiration -- she's worked all over the world, doing humanitarian and development work. I hope to do some of the work that she's done.
Getting my Peace Corps ID Card cut...it's official! I'm a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV)!
With Diallo, perhaps the nicest, most genuine man in Burkina Faso! He trained as us Peace Corps trainees in 2009 and now works at the Peace Corps Burkina Faso office full-time.
The outside of the Peace Corps Burkina Faso office in Ouagadougou.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)! Two years and three months, done.Au revoir, Burkina Faso! Bonjour, Paris!
I think the one thing that will always stay is the quote from LMU that I've made into my life's mantra of sorts (and coincidentally, the title of this blog): "Go forth and set the world on fire." It can be interpreted in many ways but I see it as this: use the skills that you've gained in all of your life's experiences (school and otherwise) to make the world a better place. Build relationships. Strengthen communities. Learn about new cultures. Share your insights with everyone. Because at the end of the day, that's what we're all here for as humans, right?
Thank you Peace Corps for providing me with the opportunity to serve. Thank you Burkina Faso for the hospitality you've given me these past years. And thank you God for leading me through this crazy, grand adventure called life.
So what's next?!