Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Volunteer Misses her Village

It’s about this time you start to miss village life.

It’s not necessarily that you dislike your current life, but things were simpler then; back when you were considered a part of a moving, breathing being. And you didn't even have to do anything to be considered a cog - you just were; it was general knowledge, accepted and considered to be truth. Back when you were annoyed by the hassle of prying eyes, now realizing you’d grown fond of them – wishing they were with you to keep you company through lonely days. Were the days always so lonely or did your time in a community, with a true family, change what you consider to be normal? Suddenly you realize what independence means: it means quiet. Not necessarily peaceful, but just quiet.

I miss the sounds of my house – the children laughing, the goats bleating, the wind as it weaves its way between millet stalks and mud houses. I strove for anonymity, for privacy, simply because I was deprived of it; now that I receive it again I find myself twisting fingers and staring at toes, wishing I could have the comfort back – the comfort of knowing I’d become a piece of something bigger than me, the comfort of knowing that I earned my place in someone’s heart, the privilege of crawling into it if ever I felt the need.

This is what they talk about when they talk about returning home. I’m still in Ghana, but the home I made is more than twenty hours away in a northerly direction. Now both of my homes are far away from me and I find myself making a new one; a labored effort, I’d forgotten. I miss the dusty roads, red dirt clinging to my skin and painting me different shades; I miss the farm land and the simplicity and the fact that I could walk for hours without seeing a car; I miss that I had friends and familiar spots and people who knew me and loved me and visited me. Leaving only solidifies the lessons I learned.

Turns out I need people. Turns out I love the people I need. Turns out I love the life I lead, but will always find root in the life I led. Turns out the Peace Corps really does change you, sloughs away the skin and replaces it with something new, something cleaner and brighter and more resilient. Turns out I am a wistful son of a gun, and it turns out it’s almost Christmas.

Cheers to a new year. Never forget the old.