That's how I was greeted one morning last weekend when I stumbled, still half asleep, into my friend's living room. As I pondered how best to respond and wiped the sleep out of my eyes,the girl's serious look of concern for my mental health came into focus. That's when I realized it was high time that I explained myself before one of the following two rumors started circulating amongst my friends and family: (1) Peace Corps bound and gagged Katie and forced her to return to Madagascar or, (2) Katie's masochism has officially gotten out of control and the intervention is scheduled for...
So here I am attempting to shed light onto my decision to return to Madagascar. Let me start off by saying that I understand why many of you may be confused. After all, over the last few months my feelings towards Peace Corps and development have vacillated between the following extremes: (1) I hate Peace Corps; (2) I love Peace Corps; (3) politicians suck and are making development impossible, so why bother with anything remotely related to Peace Corps? (4) I loved the PCV work... but there are crazy people running Peace Corps so I should probably get out while I still can; (5) really?? did that just happen? Clearly, it's been quite the rollercoaster. Either that or I've become schizophrenic. But I had no trouble getting my medical clearance so I'm assuming that means I don't have to worry about the possibility of being clinically insane.
Anyway, on to my perfectly logical reasons for returning. First, it has really been bothering me that I was unable to finish service. Particularly because I felt like I had dealt with a lot to get to where I was and ended up having to leave just as I was making headway at my site. So reason number one has to do with my search for closure. My second reason is that I thought it was important for people to return to Peace Corps Madagascar and help reopen the program. Despite the numerous stumbling blocks, I still for some reason believe that there's a lot of potential for development work over there and the people in Madagascar need assistance now more than ever. Yet another draw for me was the opportunity to try again in Madagascar with a clean slate. I had been having a great deal of trouble at my old site due to a variety of different site specific issues and I knew Peace Corps wasn't reopening sites anywhere near my old one. Therefore, it was really tempting to get the chance to start over, learn from my previous mistakes and see if I could have a little more success the second time around.
So there you have it, my top three reasons for agreeing to go back to Madagascar with Peace Corps. Hopefully it's all making a little more sense now. Our group actually flies out tomorrow so I'll be back in Madagascar this coming Monday. And I should make it out to my new site sometime in the next couple of weeks meaning that I'll find out soon if my motivations for returning were naive or rational. In the mean time, just know that yes, I am going back to Madagascar and yes, I am excited about it.
Political Economy of Development Cheat Sheet
4 days ago