Well, it’s official. I’m moving. Due to another security incident (I talked about the first two in this post Rollercoaster), Peace Corps removed me from my site. After adding more security to the windows of my house after the second break-in in late October I thought my problems with my burglar were over. But he struck again, this time when I was home. Don’t worry, he wasn’t able to get inside so I’m fine, just a bit shaken. But Peace Corps decided that it was no longer safe for me to stay in my site since things were escalating. Even though it was the middle of the night, I was awake with the lights on and clearly home so this was no longer just an attempted burglary on an empty house. Peace Corps said the most alarming thing to them is that in the second break-in a few weeks back, he stole my machete, essentially disarming me. So even though it’s sad and so hard, it’s better to move me now rather than wait for something worse to possibly happen. On Tuesday our Safety and Security Officer took me to my site. We filed a police report and she talked with the community and the police while I started packing. Explaining to people what was happening and saying goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. So now I am living in the capital and the majority of my belongings are stashed in the Peace Corps office right now. I will go back to my site again soon to finish packing up my house and get my furniture once I know where I’m off to next. Luckily my community and I pulled at the heartstrings of the PC staff so much (I cried the entire day – the drive to my site, while at my site, and the drive home) that Peace Corps has committed to finishing the project even though I can’t be the one to do it. They said they will keep me as involved as possible in the construction of the aqueduct and I will be allowed to visit sometimes.
I’m not sure where I’m going yet. This is a particularly difficult site change considering that my group will COS (Close of Service) next May. I can stay longer but still, it’s hard to start over with so little time left. And since I’m a Water Volunteer, the development and preparation that go into a new site are pretty in depth. I will be working on preliminary designs and budgets for a few aqueducts that Peace Corps was just starting to develop and next week I will go on a few site visits. Hopefully within a week or so I’ll know where my new home will be. All the sites they are considering for me (which I will then get to choose from) are communities that currently have a volunteer. The idea is that with a volunteer already living there it will be much faster for me to jump in and start work on an aqueduct since that volunteer can start organizing the community before I even get there. So I’ll keep y’all posted! But for now I’m in the capital with internet all the time so let me know if you want to plan a Skype date! I’d love to take advantage of this time to do something happy and positive like catch up with friends and family rather than dwell on my sadness at leaving my site.