Starting June 1, 2011 I embarked on a 27 month journey with the Peace Corps to Sierra Leone..this is the journal of one rambling man in Africa. I will be teaching math to secondary education students (anywhere from 7th-12th graders). I have never taught before. Hilarity is sure to ensue.
Having just passed the one year mark, I have passed a lot of time in reflection of my time here lately. Not to mention changed my concept of time completely. I’ve lost weight, had ringworm a lot, giardia, bacterial diarrhea, and plenty of fresh colds. I am blessed to have not gotten malaria, boils, or any of the other serious illness threats posed here. Almost walked on a cobra, seen lots of really cool birds, thoroughly enjoyed my bush walks, spent time on the most beautiful beaches and camped in the most amazing jungles. I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends, been adopted by two African families, taught four hundred eager smiling faces, and integrated into a small African town. I feel truly lucky to have been placed in such a beautiful country, in an amazing town, surrounded by wonderful people. Most important of all though, I found Ivy, my best friend and my life. My partner in crime, my travel buddy, my inspiration, not to mention my perfect dance partner.
It seems only right that we met doing the last thing we really had planned for ourselves in life; joining the Peace Corps and running off to Africa for two years. We quickly became fast friends as she took the bus seat across from mine and nervously organized her purse while exchanging small talk with me. “My mom says we’re going to be best friends” she says and smiles. Crush crush crush. Luck would have it that we would be placed two rooms apart for the first week in Freetown, spending every night talking till two in the morning, climbing over rooftops, and instantly becoming support for each other. Things would slowly unravel over the next two months in a way that can only be described as fated. Any small change in events and we might not have come to be. Placed in related host families, taking our meals on the floor of the training site together, sitting in the back of training together; sharing walks, headphones, and pb&j sandwiches. At one point, unsure of relationships, Ivy is forced by her host mother to leave the house and bring me fruit. At another point, some silly gossip upsets us and would have been the end if not for her liking the way I handled it. The list goes on, assuring us both that we were meant to spend our forevers together. So in January 2012, never more certain of anything, I proposed on our favorite beach after nervously carrying the rings around for hours waiting for the courage and the perfect moment.
After spending our first year at our separate sites, six hours apart, taking cramped and dangerous transport back and forth every weekend, we decided we can last through anything. We decided we both have the same ideas about how life is, how life should be, and what we want to do with it. We decided to get married in Africa!!! So on July 21st, 2012 we are going to wed on a West African beach among fellow PC volunteers and staff, our school’s staff, our host families, all the friends we have made over the past year, and a few family members from both sides . After much searching and discussing, we found the perfect place to promise each other that we want nothing more in life than to spend it together. It is a huge covered outdoors area, open to the elements, fun and quirky with its giant playground, and has lots of little deer running around.It hasn’t been easy planning a wedding in a foreign country by ourselves, but with some fantastic help, and each other’s support and commitment, we have gotten ourselves a little shindig planned. Found a good group of women that are going to cater for us, a tasty cake maker, a designer and tailor that made our matching African style attire, had a fun and successful bachelor/bachelorette party, and figured out how to legally wed in Sierra Leone. Still working on finding a band/DJ but we have a few good leads. Busy planning fun music mixes, silly games to play, making leis, planning a scavenger hunt, and getting things together for a photo booth. All is coming together nicely, though we’re being open minded and expecting Africa to throw us a few curve balls, and looking forward to meeting our new family members.