November 27, 2011
Well ladies and gentlemen, I have truly heart-breaking news for you: Peace Corps Kazakhstan is suspending its program in this country. As a volunteer this means I am leaving my Kazakh village and going home to the United States. The decision was well deliberated by a committee in Washington, but the news was startling and devastating for me as a volunteer.
The past 15 months in Kazakhstan have been full of challenges, but those challenges yielded returns higher than I'd have thought possible. I have made wonderful friends, worked with remarkable students and teachers, and was just starting to understand this place and culture I've learned to call home- if only for a while.
My homecoming is earlier than planned and I am still a bit shell-shocked by the whole thing. Goodbyes will be abrupt and I can't fully comprehend how I can say "thank you" to my community for all the hospitality and love they have shown me. Of course, it will be wonderful to see my family, especially in time for the holidays, but most volunteers have 3 months to physically and emotionally prepare for this sort of departure. We have exponentially less time to digest it here in KZ. And perhaps worst of all, the Peace Corps Staff must walk away from jobs and posts where many have served for a decade. Prayers, thoughts, juju, whatever you believe in, would be much appreciated.
I'm not sure what to conclude with, perhaps because I feel no conclusion myself. But I just wanted to let you know, with a tear in my eye. It's been a wild ride and worth every minute.