Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today was graduation at JCU. Attending was my last official duty as Professor. Now I can orient our new faculty member, who will be teaching the classes I have taught for the past 26 years, and finish emptying drawers and closets at home for my house sitters. A week from today is my going away party and then I am off to visit family until Peace Corps staging in Philadelphia on June 21. This note is primarily to let folks who signed up as “followers” see if the system works the way I think it does. I am sending an e-mail to those on my e-mail list. As soon as I know that people are getting messages from blogspot, I will remove the names of followers from my e-mail list so I don’t annoy you twice. I understand you can sign up without your name appearing on the blogspot list, so if you are one of those and want me to take you off my e-mail list, let me know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ten months after applying, I have received my invitation to join the Peace Corps! My assignment will be in Burkina Faso, in Africa, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. I will be working in the Girls Education and Empowerment program as a Community Education and Development Outreach Worker. I leave the country on June 22, but I will leave Cleveland June 2, visiting for a while in New Hampshire with Dawn and her family and then going to Maryland to stay with Janet and her family until I leave the country. The long stay with Janet is so that I can try to get a little French immersion before I leave. Janet, Jonathan, Abby and Ellie all speak French and I will have a chance to practice speaking with them.

As I understand it, I will most likely be placed in a village without electricity and, of course, without access to the internet. I have been reading blogs by other Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso, so I know it is possible to post things from time to time, and will try to do so whenever possible. I have taught my last class at John Carroll University and will be winding down my duties as department chair. I keep thinking I should be feeling sad about ending my teaching career, but I am so excited about finally doing a tour of service with the Peace Corps that I just count off the milestones as steps toward that goal.

I called my last Cleveland area contra dance on May 1, and the band in which I am usually playing, Mud in Yer Eye, had a cake with “Bon Voyage” and an equivalent phrase in Morre on it! See above for a picture of it. Morre is one of the many languages spoken in Burkina Faso. One of the women in the band is working on a project related to girls’ education that has a site in Burkina Faso and asked a colleague what one would say in that culture. The small world phenomenon strikes again! Saturday was my last dance with One String Short in Greentown, and we had a great crowd. What a great way to end my contra dance calling here. One final party with the band and friends at Plymouth Church on May 30, and then I leave on this adventure.