It’s official! I have been re-sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho. My flight back over was a best possible scenario in that all the seats in my row were empty so I even got to LAY DOWN and sleep (yes!). After arriving I was picked up and brought to the PC office in Maseru where I checked in with various PC staff, then proceeded to the guesthouse to sleep off some jet lag. The next day PC drove me down to my site for a triumphant return. My room was just as I left it, but clean (my counterpart snuck in the day before to sweep, dust, and wax the floor. She’s a saint.). Unfortunately one of my four host-nuns was transferred to a different convent in my absence, but I found the other three as warmly welcoming as ever. After saying hi to them I trotted down to the school to find my counterpart. I found her in the library, where we had a brief hug-fest and exclaimed over and over how happy we were to see each other.
About a week and a half in our Country Director Wendy stopped by my camp town to officially swear me back in. Since my medical separation meant I closed my service (or COS-ed), this is technically a brand new term of service. A few PCVs from nearby came to witness this inauspicious occasion in a heartwarming show of support. I did repeat one sentence incorrectly, but hey so did Obama. Swearing in is a little strange because the oath we take is the same oath used for every government position, from a Senator to a soldier. So there isn’t anything about peace, only about protecting the Constitution from “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. In any case, I’ve said it, I’ve signed it, and now I’m officially back.
This week my counterpart and I attended a PC workshop about designing and implementing a project. We are looking forward to realizing the project we first decided on when I arrived last year, which is a poultry project to support the orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) that attend the primary school at my site. My training group completed this workshop in February, so I went with a group of Education volunteers that swore in shortly after I left. It was an opportunity to get to know the PCVs in that group, and it turns out I’ve got some new great new neighbors to hang out with!
Returning to Lesotho feels wonderful. It’s strange that returning home to America felt so unsettling and unfair, whereas returning to this incredibly foreign land felt like I was righting a wrong in the universe. As before, day-to-day things move slowly as far as work goes, but overall my work feels cut out for me. Also as before, there are some amazing people in this country, both Basotho and American, and I’m looking forward to spending the next eighteen months working with them.