Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finishing up, Peace Corps Style

So, approximately three months before our official Close of Service date (August 22nd, calculated by Peace Corps from our swearing-in date), we have a Close of Service (COS) conference. This involves going to a hotel by the beach and learning about all the medical and administrative things we have to do before we can get on the plane.

When I heard about COS conference two years ago from the volunteers that were leaving around the time I arrived, my reaction was, "Hotel by the beach? Food? Pool? I'm totally staying for that!" I realize that's not really great motivation for two years' service, and had I been utterly miserable in Togo, the idea of Hotel Novella Star certainly wouldn't have kept me here. But, I made it. And so did all these people:

That's 14 less people than we started with (we lost 15 from the original group and gained one transfer from Kenya):

For more comparisons, here's the original group of health (CHAP) volunteers at our swearing-in:

And now:

I had a great time hanging out with everyone one last time. We ended the week by celebrating a fellow CHAP volunteer's wedding. Danielle and Jorge met in Bolivia about seven years ago and have been carrying on long-distance since then. He joined her here in Togo in January, they got officially married in Ghana, and we had a ceremony on the beach in Togo (the first of many ceremonies? I think they're planning more in the States and Bolivia). Anyway, I took most of the wedding photos and you can see them in all their un-Photoshopped glory on Facebook, here, here, and here. Yes, there are three albums, and about a hundred variations of the following photo (that I obviously didn't take).

And that's about all that's new. I have some West African travels planned for June and a ticket out of here for August 11th. So... see you soon.