Coming to Ethiopia as a fresh graduate was my first time away from a structured environment. First time I had to just figure things out on my own. As much as Peace Corps tries to prepare you, until you step away on your own, it just doesn’t hit. I remember trying to adjust to the different experiences and looking to my left and right wondering why my projects weren’t working out as the others. Slowly, I began to realize that although there were many situations, unmotivated counterparts and a slow system, that may have prevented me from getting things started…there was more. I started to look within myself and realized that I was doing the best that I could with what I had to give. I was giving my all, as much as I could mentally handle. Maybe another volunteer would be able to do more, but I am…me. Simply speaking, I am me. All I could do was try. I had to respect my mental boundaries that were set in place to stay sane.
As I continued to adjust and get used to my new surroundings, I started to branch out. Started to push my limits, create new boundaries…began teaching at a school, developing a food security project, forging true relationships. Looking back and seeing where I started, how far I’ve come, how many challenges I’ve stepped over, how much I’ve worked to fight mental boundaries…I can’t help but feel…proud, damn proud, of the person that I am becoming. I am happy at the place I am right now, mentally, physically and spiritually.