This is the last post I will be posting on this blog. My Peace Corps Service has come to an end and thus it is time for my Peace Corps Blob to come to an end as well. I would like to start by thanking everyone for all the love and support they have given me over the past two years. This has not been an easy experience, or very fun a lot of the time, but it has been worthwhile and I do believe I will always think of Peace Corps with fondness. There is no way I can adequately thank the Peace Corps staff for being so wonderful, particularly in the last two months.
I am back in Minnesota two months earlier than expected. Because of the political turmoil in Madagascar Peace Corps was evacuated last week. After we had been deconsolidated on February 17th I went back to site for about a week and simply relaxed and enjoyed being with my family again. I lulled myself into a false sense of security (or you could call it denial) and acted like nothing was going to happen. We were in a lull in the political crisis. Andry and Marc were in negotiations, and in Anivorano nothing had ever changed. At the end of February I left site again to go to Tana for my COS conference (we were starting the process of leaving Peace Corps) and to go shopping for wedding supplies. As we were on the way to Tana the negotiations broke down. Things started to get messy again but I quickly did everything I needed to do and went back to Anivorano. I was worried we would get evacuated befor I was able to get back to site and do the things I needed to do there, as evacuation looked like where we were headed.
I got back to Anivorano on Saturday evening. I spent Sunday going to church and talking about wedding planning with Mbola and his family. On Monday Mbola and I filled the paperwork to get legally married on Saturday, we knew we had to get married before the end of the month and Saturday March 14th was really the only available time. By Monday night things had started to get violent once again with the position of the military now in question. So after Mbola and I talked to his parents once again and told them of our concerns that something might go wrong so maybe we should get married earlier than Saturday.
On Monday night Mbola and I went to bed worried and stressed not really knowing what our future would hold. When we woke on Tuesday morning we started a normal day, fetching water and making breakfast. Just as we finished eating a young man came over to our house to tell us that Mbola’s father wanted to see us. So we went over there, not knowing what he could want, only to be told that we would be getting married at 4pm that day.
We got married in a simple ceremony at the town office on March 10th. Mbola’s sister, Tahiry, and brother, Zo, were our witnesses and the wedding was attended by his parents a three close friends. Afterwards we had a simple but fun celebratory dinner. Mbola and I spent most of Wednesday acting a little goofy and just enjoying each others company, we were also trying to decide what I should do. Evacuation looked like it was just on the horizon, for a couple of hours we were planning on me leaving Peace Corps and staying in country for our May 9th wedding ceremony in the church, but that plan was nixed when as we were going to bed that evening I received news from Peace Corps that the program was being suspended and we were being evacuated. I left site at 5 am the next morning, Mbola went to Tana with me and we told no one but his parents what was happening (as per Peace Corps instructions)
When we got to Tana on Thursday evening, I went to stay at the Peace Corps house and Mbola went to his relatives. After working late into the night we were able to submit an application for a Spousal visa on Friday morning, and on Saturday morning I was on a plane to South Africa.
After arriving in South Africa and nagging the Peace Corps staff a bit I was able to be one of the first volunteers on a plane home. I knew I was not going to be trying to transfer to another country and I had just, luckily, gone to my COS conference a week earlier so I was able to quickly complete my paperwork and arrived back in Minnesota into the welcoming arms of my family on Wednesday March 18th. For now I am waiting for Mbola to be able to join me here and closely watching the internet for news of Madagascar.
It is the unexpected end of one adventure and the beginning of another. Thank you again for faithfully reading my missives over the past two years.