There are no more days on my countdown. I have scrolled through a calendar, tallying up every sunset I had to wait out, for months now. I’ve seen the numbers roll over from triple digits to double, from double to single, and now to nothingness. A big, fat goose egg.
I’m worried I’ll forget it all. I’m worried the memories will become fuzzy with time. The nuances will be lost like pennies under a car seat, unimportant until you’re desperately searching for seven cents.
Desperately groping for memories of Cameroon.
I’ll lose the gentle breeze pushing the lace curtain that shield the puff-puff shack. The leather pointininis curved at absurd angles, the shoes still spotless as the men dance around mud puddles. The call to prayer as I roll over before dawn. Goats towing ropes. Women towing children. The talking drums, the ceremonial gongs. Home-made racing cars, rain on a tin roof, gleaming Salaa outfits to celebrate a long fast being over. Frogs at night. Four people in the back seat. Thunder so loud it shakes you. The beautiful click of a regulator when power comes back. The joy of a faucet trickling water after weeks of collecting rain.
They are all memories now, and fading.
The volunteer house has exploded with clothes and souvenirs and half-packed bags. Their owners do as I do, staring at the mounds hoping they’ll diminish on their own. It involves a lot of sighing. We’re weighing bags, rearranging the heavier things with the strategy of chess players. I will be pulling 120lbs of nostalgia behind me tonight.
My Cameroonian money has dwindled into almost nothing. My last few CFA goes towards small snacks at the corner store. Every last bit will be counted out, my careful planning finally coming to a head. I’ll end with zero. In its place I have fistfuls of American money. It looks fake still, long and skinny and monochromatic. Stark compared to the flash of color that once took its place in my wallet.
As it is with my service, it is with this blog. What a lie it would be to write under the heading of a Peace Corps Peach when I can make no such claims. I leave here no longer a volunteer and no longer a Georgian. What entitlement do I still have to any of it?
This whole endeavor was never meant to be anything more than a retelling of life in the armpit of Africa. My only hope was family and friends would take a glance every once in a while, maybe during the moments of quiet when I crossed their minds. Instead it has exploded into an identity.
My gratitude overflows for the readers who have made this all so much more than a bored person’s ramblings. The emails, comments, and simple page clicks have served as a bolster for me here. The outpour of support I’ve received is humbling and comforting and my light at the end of the tunnel on the darkest days.
What’s next for me is still shrouded in mystery, the fog clearing a little more each day. But it will be there, and not here. My goodbye is filled with mixed emotions, excitement to begin the next step but a deep pang of sadness that the next step is not, and may never again be, in Cameroon. And it is with that knowledge that I wish it all the best of luck, and good stead in my absence.
Meanwhile I’ll be out doing my best to catch monkeys….small, small.