For some time now, I've been thinking about extending my service for a third year. I wouldn't stay in the village, though. Instead, I could take a position in Kaolack, the regional capitol, working with all the volunteers around here, or in Dakar. It's an exciting thought in a lot of ways. Another year in Senegal with the Peace Corps would mean another year of work experience in development, the field I'm probably going to choose for a career. That's especially enticing, since my background has nothing to do with the field. By reputation, furthermore, Peace Corps/Senegal seems to be doing pretty well for itself. The program is highly regarded in the Peace Corps community. So I suppose this is an opportunity to continue learning from people who know what they're doing.
On the other hand, I know what I want. I know which graduate schools I'll be applying to and which degree programs are most compelling to me. Maybe I should just go for it.
More importantly, I know what it is that I don't like about the Peace Corps. I know why I'm frustrated in my work here. My thoughts on how development ought to be done, on what I would need to be doing to feel comfortable and happy and fulfilled in my work, are pretty fully formed. In that sense, I might be ready to move on to an academic setting, where I can do some really valuable study and continue to refine my thoughts.
So now I'm soliciting advice. Send me an email or write a comment, whatever you're comfortable with. I could really use some new perspectives on this, even if you and I aren't close friends or whatever. If you read this blog, which it seems you are, then I'm guessing you have an opinion.
If I had to state a preference right now, I'd say that I would like to be convinced to stay on for a third year. But that's the thing. I need to be convinced. What does the Peace Corps do well? I feel like I'm having a hard time seeing it these days, not necessarily because it's not there. It's just been a frustrating few months.
Anyway, I'm headed back to the village, in spite of the fact that my latrine is collapsing. It's Ramadan, too! More on that later, I guess.
Love and guts, and I wanna hear from you.