The Very Last Blog Post

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.

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11 thoughts on “The Very Last Blog Post

  1. Loved being able to share your journey. You can now be a guest lecturer and continue to share your memories with young people all over the US. Thank you for sharing. You have touched many lives!

  2. Georgia Gootee, I presume? Congrats and welcome back, Enjoy the cool, dry comfort and let your folks do some doting over you for awhile. This only your next adventure, you very, very brave girl.

  3. About the memories-yes they fade with time-just as all things in our past do-but those experiences make you who you are now-whether the mind forgets or not-love you and am proud of you. Sheri and Flannery

  4. I just started crying on my own flight this morning because I can’t believe it’s finally here. Granted, not the same as mine anymore, you’re coming home! I’m filled with so many emotions trying to imagine what you’re going through, but I know you’ll navigate this next chapter with as much, if not more, grace and courage as you have these past 2 and some odd years. You’re definitely an inspiration and I can’t wait to see where you end up. P.S. Kaitie and I will be booking flights soon 🙂 Safe travels, love!

  5. Georgia,
    You are a very impressive young woman. I have so enjoyed following your experiences in Cameroon and in many ways feel that I know you, although we have never met and maybe never will. I said in an earlier reply that I knew your mom when we were VERY young and as full of promise and dreams as you are now. I have known your mom for the past 44 years and I like to think that we are lifetime friends. You are the young woman that we both aspired to be… good for you! My best to you and your Mom (who has yet to get in touch with me!!!) 🙂
    Becky Franz

    • And now you are a rpcv. Schools will look for you in march to come talk to students. Or you can look for a school that has a current volunteer who would like a speaker. Any school will be fortunate to have you.

  6. Congratulations, Georgia! Seems like just yesterday you were waiting to find out where you were headed. I’m so glad you found a home away from home of sorts in Cameroon. The memories will fade, yes. But the experiences you had will live on. Instead of stories starting with, “This one time, at band camp…” you will tell fond tales of your time in Cameroon.

    Much love to you and I wish you safe travels home. ♥!

  7. Dearest Georgia,
    Naturally, I cried. You continue to impress and honor your family with the person you are. We are so proud of your service and will be delighted to welcome you home. Who loves you? Mom loves you!

  8. The memories do fade and fuzz somewhat over time But not so much that even if it takes 20 years to get back, when you step off the plane it feels like you never left. Walka fayn!

  9. Georgia, a brief thank you for your fabulous blog. I started reading it two months ago when my son (Matt Bikoff) left home for his stint as a PCV doing YD. His class of trainees will be sworn in on Nov. 20, and he will depart soon thereafter for his post in Abong Mbang (East region). While I was missing my son (who incidentally writes a nice blog himself), you brought the country to life and gave me the assurance he would find, like you, humor and adventure in the daily life of a PCV. I believe that many (all?) of Matt’s group are among your readers. I wish you the best of luck in your next ventures– you may want to join the writers of SNL (you are that good).

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