The countdown has begun. I have 50 days left in the Dominican Republic – wow!
Mostly I’m excited by that number. Mostly I’m ready. Mostly I’m content with what I’ve done in this country – my Peace Corps bucket list is looking pretty solid. But it’s still weird to actually have a set-in-stone departure date, which I haven’t had since I started tacking on time to my service as the original 2 years came to an end. And it’s weird to actually start imagining the goodbyes that are to come.
I have SO much work left to do in the next 50 days that it gives me panic to even think about it, but going home is the light at the end of this crazy busy work tunnel that I’ll be in for the next 7 weeks so that is very motivating. The water system construction is going pretty well but if I’ve learned anything in my time here it’s that nothing goes as planned so I’m crossing my fingers that we can stick to our work plan and finish digging a little over 1km more of trenches to finish the pipeline and build two gulley crossings, a 40,000L ferrocement tank and 70 tapstands to finish out the project. And I also have double fingers crossed that this crazy drought ends so that there will actually be enough water to fill the tank at a reasonable rate and test the system before I go.
Although I’m a bit stressed about this last leg of my Peace Corps service, I also have a lot of fun stuff planned before I go too! In a few weeks I’m heading down south with friends to celebrate the departure of a few volunteers in San Juan de la Maguana and then heading to a beach called San Rafeal on the south coast that supposedly has the most beautiful beach/cliff views in the country. That will sadly be my last Caribbean beach trip for quite a while. Then during Semana Santa (the week before Easter) I have a short work week so I’ll be able to spend the long weekend visiting my old community for the last time. And finally, just over a week before I fly out I’ll get to attend the inauguration of a close friend’s water system which will be a great chance to celebrate a happy occasion and say some goodbyes to my PCV friends. I also have to spend a few days in the capital in April to interview with various Peace Corps office staff and get medical approval to leave the country and then I have to return to the capital again right at the very end to turn in my motorcycle helmet, water filter, medical kit, mosquito net, etc. Most volunteers fly out of the capital right after all that but I opted to book my own flight for a couple days later and out of an airport closer to my site so that I can go back to pick up the puppy and my luggage and make our travel situation a bit easier. Then Maya and I have a two-leg red-eye flight to get us to NC on May 12th!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this roller coaster experience. I’m so excited to see you all stateside this summer!