Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Change of Plans

About a month ago, I had a traumatic experience in my village.  I don’t feel comfortable posting all of the details on a public blog, but it involved an intruder coming into my hut in the middle of the night while I was sleeping.  I’m okay, and Peace Corps Safety and Security responded immediately.  I biked out of the village the following day and have been living at the regional house for the past month.

I have always felt safe in my village, and this incident broke that trust.  The part that breaks my heart the most is that I probably will not be able to move back.  This is something that I’ve been struggling with a lot, because I was so happy living in that village.  I’ve reached a point in my service where I’m comfortable with the language and have made some close local friends.  I love my host family, especially the kids.  You never think that something like this will happen to you.  It feels surreal to know that I can no longer live in the place I’ve called home for the past 15 months.  I never wanted to leave my village this way.  I wanted to leave in 8 months when I’m supposed to leave, and by then I hoped I’d be more ready.  It’s not time yet, and this whole experience has been very frustrating and confusing.

The more distance I’ve had from my village and from the incident, the more clearly I have been able to see it.  Initially, I wanted to try to move back to my village, because the thought of not seeing my kids every day was unthinkable.  My family, friends, and work are there, and I didn’t want to leave them.  It made me so angry that my village and I were being punished for something that was completely out of my control.  A month later, the situation is still not resolved, and I know that it’s not realistic for me to think I can move back.  No matter how much I’m going to miss everyone, my safety has to be more important.

Luckily, I was able to go back for Fily’s wedding last week.  The only way that was possible was because my boyfriend went with me.  I’ll write another blog about the wedding, but it was great to go back for a few days and to see my family.

Now I’m trying to plan out the rest of my service.  My friends here have been incredibly supportive and have been helping me to figure out what I want to do.  There are a lot of options, but I think I’ll probably move to another village.  The village I’m leaning towards moving to is in a beautiful location and has some wonderful people.  It’s hard to think about starting all over again in a new village at this point in my service, but this time around I have a better grasp of the language and know what to expect.  I’m not saying goodbye to anyone in Nafadji either, because I still hope to visit during the day and to continue my Care Group and Jeune Relais projects.

The funny part about this is that I had just written in my journal the day before the incident happened that I had the rest of my service planned out.  I knew exactly what projects I’d be working on up until I leave in the spring.  It just goes to show that you can’t plan everything!


  1. This last month has been one of hugely mixed emotions. I felt a lot of anger towards this person who had no right to put you in a position where you could not continue the wonderful work you have done for the people of Nafaji and your host family.
    However I am also so proud of the way you have handled yourself. As with all the obstacles and challenges you have faced, you are finding a way to turn this into an opportunity to help another group of people and I know they will be very glad to have had the opportunity to work with you for the remainder of your service. My guess is that you will have as much or even more impact on your new village in 8 months as you had in Nafaji in 15 because you are now a very experienced and capable and wonderful volunteer.

  2. Marielle--I'm so impressed with your strength and resilience in light of all that's happened. Your plan to keep moving forward is a positive one and I know you'll continue to make a difference wherever you are. You are always in our thoughts and we love you very much. xoxo Mom

  3. Hi M---I have finally caught up with all my 'stuff' from Nepal and then have been avidly reading all your blogposts......and this last one breaks my heart. I am so sorry this happened, but am truly relieved you are okay. Stay that way! You'll find something to do with your time there. Big hug, Kevin