Just wanted to drop a line about the situation here. None of what I'm about to say is secret - the news is in a PDF published today by Peace Corps on their website [link here].
On Tuesday we were called in and told that our training group would be closing our service (COSing) early - like, "you have at most three more weeks to finish your work" early. Everybody's situation is different; some were satisfied with their work and thinking of COSing early anyway. For others this was quite the bombshell, on top of having been told just a month earlier we would not be replaced. We know that our work is not in a "sustainable" place right now. We know that three weeks will go by in a heartbeat.
I was still considering my options the day after when we received an e-mail that our early COS is actually part of a bigger plan of reduction and consolidation that will affect many more volunteers here in Guatemala.
I have many general thoughts on the situation, but I will save them for a more appropriate moment. At this point in time, I just wanted to share my personal experience as a volunteer almost 22 months into her service.
So here it is: I'm unprepared to leave, folks. What makes me most sad is the idea of saying goodbye early - but saying goodbye I could do. What will actually prevent me from leaving early are my pending work commitments.
Like many, I am one of those volunteers who get chugging late, but at the end are enjoying a lot of momentum. It might not be ideal, but it's the way things work sometimes when you are the first generation volunteer, live in a fairly closed community, have an uncommitted counterpart, and/or have no funding. For volunteers like us, the last three months are worth six.
My counterparts and I have an interpretative trail to finish, signs to hang, two months of water data to collect (plus fieldwork), a park logo to finalize, a group of young people to organize, a first round of promotion to do, a proposal to write for park infrastructure improvements, an annual operating plan to help shape, a plan to present to the new mayor. The majority of that will happen before our new COS date, but not all of it can (especially my Masters' work).
I feel confident that things will work out, in one way or another. We will find out more soon. But for the meantime, I'm just trying to process what all this will mean for us.
Sometimes this is what life seems to think of making plans. (Splattered blackberry juice on painstakingly crafted to-do list. April 2010)