Yes, that's right. I'm moving to Ukraine. Much to the dismay of my parents, after the evacuation from Mauritania, I decided re-enroll for another two years of service. I have just received my placement as a youth development volunteer in Ukraine, leaving at the end of March. So now for some frequently asked questions (okay, they actually haven't been asked that frequently since I just got my placement yesterday, but I know how your minds work. I know these questions are on the way).
You were evacuated in August. What have you been doing since then?
Well, I’ve been doing some baby sitting and will be doing some dog sitting soon. If anybody has any odd jobs that need to be done before then end of March, I’m your girl. I went on a month long road trip with one of my best friends from college through California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Besides that, I’ve been doing a lot of something I NEVER did when I was in college before I left for Peace Corps: hanging out and relaxing. I know, six months is a long time to “hang out”, and I agree, but right now is not a great time to find a job, and at least I know I have a job at the end of March.
Two more years? Really? That sure seems like a long time.
It does SEEM like a long time, but it’s actually not that long. My first year of service flew by. Peace Corps did give all the evacuees the option to take a one year posting in another African country. However, I decided that I either wanted to do two years or nothing. The way I see it, I spent my first year of service trying to get a handle on language, the community, and my job. I was so excited to start my second year and really be able to get something done. So basically, if I took a one year posting, I never would have gotten to that second year. I will have to do that first year over again in Ukraine, but I will also get to make it to that second year, and that will make the two year commitment completely worth it.
What made you pick the Ukraine?
Well, first of all, I didn’t pick it. Peace Corps did. I did, however, request to be in Eastern Europe. There are two main reasons for this. The first is about trying to move on from Mauritania. I really did love it there, and it was devastating to have to leave my host family. It would be very difficult to take a post so close geographically to Mauritania but to also know that I couldn’t go back there. The second reason is just about my own personal experience. I spent a semester studying in South Africa and was able to travel quite a bit around the region. Now I have also spent a year in West Africa. Peace Corps is able to provide me with a great opportunity to live a place I never would have considered before.
At the end of the day, I see it like this: Mauritania was a huge surprise. It was not at all what I pictured when I heard I was going to Africa. I didn’t know anything about it and really hadn’t heard of it at all. But I loved it. So I can’t imagine there is any other country that I will not find a way to love. I’m sure the Ukraine will be no exception.
What will your job be?
My job description sounds pretty similar to my job in the RIM. I’m working with at risk youth. As in Mauritania I’ll be working with extra curricular programs, except unlike the RIM, I won’t be working exclusively with girls.
So that’s about all. Nothing else that interesting going on. Feel free to e-mail if you want to meet up before I leave (but you have over three months!)
Have a happy holiday!