Emily is nearing the end of her Peace Corps service and plans to visit family & friends in the U.S. this December. She forwarded me the following thoughts & photos to post:
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to visit a waterfall located in Sheka. It is about an hour walk from the main town, through a small farming community that borders the forest. The day was bright and scorching, with no inkling of rain to come. It was a relief to enter the path that led to the falls and leave signs of human impact behind. At times, we had to somewhat make our own path!
As we got closer to the waterfall’s location, the sound of rushing water wove its way through the vines and trees. We carefully made our way down a steep slope and entered the cave that exists behind the falls. The air was misty and refreshing and the surface of the cave was slippery. Closer to the waterfall, ferns and impatient flowers grew, exuding a vibrant green light. As I breathed in the air and absorbed the breadth of the falls, I was reminded of how lucky I was to be here in Ethiopia.
I felt refreshed and capable to complete my last month of service in Masha with fullness and energy. I also realized how much I would miss my life here – my neighbors, co-workers and friends. My routine is calm, yet still filled with moments I can learn from. I appreciate this. The market, too, has sustained me in a healthy, balanced way for months. Memories fill my mind and sometimes it is hard to focus on the present moment. These coming weeks will be emotional but also will bring completion and joy.
I also look forward to seeing my friends and family in the United States this winter. I want to take this time to thank everyone who has shown interest in my life here and that I felt very much loved and supported during my Peace Corps service. I truly could not have done it without you all!
P.S. The photos of the little girl are of my favorite 2 year old, Hannan. She is my neighbor and we play almost every day. The Peace Corps came to pick up a couple boxes for the office in Addis from my kitchen this past week and I was out of town. Apparently, Hannan started to cry and grab the boxes, thinking I was not coming back. It was so sweet and sad at the same time – a true realization of how hard it will be to say my goodbyes.