Heading to the Mainland

Remember when I was just a happy-go-lucky Peace Corps volunteer, living in the mountains, freezing my butt off, in Ethiopia? Remember all the care packages with Spam or the joy of being the first African American, at my site, and having small children greet me, in Chinese. Those were the days, my friend.

I almost miss peeing in that bucket, sleeping in my camping tent, and bathing, using my friend’s solar shower bag. Of course, all those items were left behind, in Ethiopia. I only had a day to pack and get myself to Addis Ababa. As a senior, I flew home business class, on the chartered Peace Corps flight. So … no complaints here and one replacement solar shower now being ordered online.

Although it’s been two years, I miss Armenia like crazy. I’m in contact with my host families (via social media) almost everyday. Still, I miss them. I purchased some apricots, here in Hawaii, to remind me of home. They were awful. And …. somehow …. that made me very happy.

Being one of two Americans, and the only Black person, in a city of 20,000, was such a joy. I didn’t worry about neighbors calling the cops on me. I never worried about being stopped by the police, EVER. And, I could jog, walk, or bird watch, without fear of being chased down, by a truck, shot, and killed.

Then, my plans for a five year “racial” respite were cut short, by the COVID evacuation. I arrived in Hawaii and immediately began reapplying to the Peace Corps. I put in one application for regular service, 27 months, leaving early 2021, and another with Peace Corps Response, leaving this October. Response has now pushed the Jamaica date to March (or May) 2021. I’m grounded.

In two weeks, my time in Honolulu will come to an end. Can’t imagine a more perfect place to sit out a quarantine. But, much like the 12 weeks of Peace Corps PST, (Pre Service Training), it’s time to head to my “permanent” site. Although I’m sure Hawaii would be safer, (COVID and/or racism), when has GGT ever gone for safe?

Bye, bye, paradise, I’m going all in and going home. Get ready for my mainland adventures!

Fingers crossoed for better apricots. –GGT

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