It’s here: the final week of training. It’s Wednesday morning and I am sitting in training with some unprecedented free time and reasonable Internet access.
Our last official day of training is this Friday. We’ll review the past 8 weeks of our training experience and prepare for the next step in our journey: departure to Kingston on Sunday where we’ll spend two nights (at a hotel with hot water). Then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for will happen on Monday afternoon when we find out our site placements.
We’re sure the powers that be already know where each of us are going but in keeping with the Peace Corps protocol and guidelines, we won’t find out till Monday. My vision for my ideal site hasn’t really changed since I started this journey. I hope to be placed in a rural setting, perhaps in a small, mountainous village. I have no preference as to where in the country I get placed geographically. I expect to be the only American in my town. I expect to have water from a cachement system. I expect to live in a dwelling located in the yard of a Jamaican host family within walking distance to my work. I expect to have a goat or access to one.
I know, I shouldn’t have expectations so as to minimize the chance that I’ll be disappointed. The only real way I’ll be disappointed is if I am in a semi-urban community that is noisy and congested.
If I could summarize my experience thus far, I would say that Pre-Service Training has been challenging, boring, enriching, and active (mentally, physically, and emotionally.) It’s been rewarding and at time aggravating. It’s been structured and fairly inflexible. It has been, in my estimation, too long. But alas, the time has nearly come where we will be set loose in the lush Jamaican countryside to find our way in a culture that is welcoming and at the same time suspicious; Christian and promiscuous; conservative and vulgar. The Jamaican culture is a very complex and multi-faceted one. I can’t wait to get to the end of the tunnel.