Returning to Site

I’ve been in Accra for far too long. I went down originally for a meeting with the African Cashew Alliance, which was very productive! When I was down in Accra, I got news that I needed to be back in Accra a few days later for a meeting. So just today I made it back to home sweet home. Going back to site is always an interesting experience.

When you spend any amount of time away from site, you start to miss it immensely. You miss your house, your compound mates, your town, the chop in your town. My favorite back about coming back after being away is walking in the front door of the compound. I almost always come back around dinner time, so the whole family is outside cooking. The joy and excitement the whole compound has when you walk back in the door is simply amazing. It is like a long lost sister has finally returned. I love the feeling of walking in those doors. I feel so loved.

I love the feeling of unlocking your door and walking in for the first time in a while. I instantly turn the fans on, drop all my stuff, then go check on the kitchen. There is something about walking in that door though and seeing my bed and stuff that just makes me so happy. I come home to my space with my stuff and I do, I feel at home. I feel like I am back in my sanctuary.

Now don’t get me wrong, coming back home isn’t always peaches and unicorns. Invariably something has gone horribly wrong, or it is about to. For instance, today I walk back in the kitchen to turn on the fridge. I notice I forgot to talk the mango puree out of the fridge when I left. The lid falls off when I touch it and rotten mango junk flies everywhere. Luckily, it avoided my clothes and just went for all over the fridge. I go to wash it, water is out. No water to clean it with. I go to the shower to grab the cup to get some water. Cup is broken, has a hole in the bottom. I notice my face wash looks weird. I pick it up. The whole thing is empty. It was full when I left. That face wash was supposed to last me at least 7 months. I haven’t even looked at the toilet yet. Dreading that part. The mango crap combined with the face wash, cup and having to say goodbye to people was just the final trigger. AND HERE COMES THE SOBBING TEARS. I squat down in my kitchen into a ball and just start sobbing. The family comes running in worried about what’s going on.

They see the mango crap and have the boy come get a rag to clean it up. Then Esther and Mama give me a big hug and tell me not to cry. They tell me if I cry, then they will start crying. So Mama fakes a big cry and gives me another great hug. The kids proceed to clean my kitchen for me, and man did they do a good job. They cleaned more than I would have ever asked for.

It is always hard the first 24 hours back at site. When you are around other Peace Corps Volunteers for any period of time, leaving them is so hard. You are suddenly alone and stuck with all your problems again. The realization that you are alone again is often oppressing and feels like a rock is stuck on your chest. Thankfully, text messages are cheap and you are never really alone.

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