As of tomorrow, I will be an official PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER.. an advocate of peace, friendship, and sustainablility... what a responsibility! Tomorrow is my swear in- official to the United States, The Gambia, and myself. I cannot express excitement in words, really.. but I will try.
For the past two months, I have had to leave everything and everyone I know to explore a new land, it's people and the culture. I've begun to learn a new language and countless skills that I know will benefit me up the road. Soon, I will be able to effectively explore Gambian culture, through nothing but solid connection to the land and that which it has sustained over time. Already, I have had to break down barriers, insecurities, FEARS.... this has been the hardest. I have had to leave all which has made me feel comfortable in my young life to venture out into that which is unknown. I mean people do this EVERYDAY, but not on this scale, I feel.
I feel like I am reliving my childhood, with innocent and curious eyes. From what I know back in the States, most people are completely content in their environments and routines, and I was too! But to be thrown into a new country, a new lifestyle, with NO expectations is completely foreign. It's EXCITING! Half of the time, I have to find comfort in a single glance from someone, or a smile...because we don't speak the same language. I have to seek out alternate forms of communication like dance, drumming, or even silence. It's really wild.
Everyday I question what my purpose is here in the Peace Corps...in the Gambia. Am I here for my own benefit or the benefit of the greater good - or is it all the same in the end? I have this discussion quite a bit with the other volunteers. Did I come here to help pay off my students loans, for selfish reasons... to further my own existence. Or, was I guided here by some outside force that knows better than myself why I came in the first place. Some people that I've talked to have said "the world is fucked, people are fucked, we're screwing ourselves, destroying the earth and all of its inhabitants." Then, I say.. "Well then... why are we here?" This stumps alot.. including myself. All I can respond with is "You are here because you have faith. You believe that you can make a positive difference, whether it be within yourself or within others (which is all the same anyways). Something deep within yourself, whether you are aware of it or not, believes that life is sustainable, energy is sustainable and that any positive thought/action/word is vibrated into the cosmic infinite. The fact that we are here is proof that something inside of us... innately.. thrives for the sustainability of life. We have to believe that any change within our environment immediately and directly influences the growth and exploration of our true selves, and thus.. the purpose of our existence.
Can you tell I woke in a contemplative mood today? Gratefully, I have been able to practice Yoga almost everyday for the past two weeks - a rarity considering my hectic ass schedule for these past two months. It has allowed me to go inward and focus on how/why I have ended up HERE, NOW. I thrive on these thoughts. I live for these thoughts. It's called being conscious. I can only hope that through this blog, through my interaction with the people of this country and through my own meditation, I can raise consciousness on the beauty of life.
For those who will hear it, peace and love ONLY. Namaste.