*NOTE: I updated the aesthetics of my blog! Hopefully the new format doesn’t confuse you – all of the information is still the same, just figured it’s time for an update! Enjoy 🙂
My priorities since returning from Lesotho have been mostly focused on school. Returning to my second (and last) year of graduate school, I knew it would be a challenge getting back into the swing of a vigorous schedule, structured days, and highly efficient time management. My first few days at work in a student affairs office had its share of faux paus, causing me a lot of stress and anxiety over whether I would be fired or not, and whether I was fit at all for a formalized work environment. Luckily, there was a staff person in our Office of Global Studies that understood my circumstances and reassured me that I was more than qualified to perform the job. That month of doubt, realizing that I was not at all as readjusted as I thought, was the biggest challenge I faced returning home from service. Readjustment is not fixed, but continues to happen in the smallest ways, to this day.
Academically, I took a one-credit re-entry class to discuss experiences and perspectives of other PCVs and global activities scholars. I created a poster that was presented during Global Social Work Week, which highlighted the skills developed and takeaways gained through PC service.
To promote PC’s third goal of sharing other country’s cultures with Americans, I participated in a Petcha Kutcha event where the returned Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) cohort presented on their service to a crowded classroom of other graduate students and professionals. In December, when Mpho visited from Lesotho, we went and spoke with my high school sociology teacher’s classroom about cultural curiosity and differences. I’m glad he was there to speak more in-depth about cultural traditions, as there way too many nuances and details I would’ve skipped over, even though I lived there for two years (it’s just not enough time!).
By the way, did I mention that Mpho is my fiancée? I tend to be a more private person when it comes to relationships, but this guy deserves a big mention and a lot of credit. We met right as my service began in Lesotho, and have been together almost three years now. He’s the most inspirational person I know, and I can’t wait to see what he does for Lesotho, Africa, and our future family. He hates the cold, but the fact that he proposed to me in Michigan, on Christmas, OUTSIDE, and then took these photos with me in the snow speaks volumes. Kea u rata haholo, moratuoa.
In April I graduated with my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan, alongside other RPCVs. We attended a ceremony where we were recognized as PCMI scholarship recipients, and took photos with our Dean and fancy certificates (funny to think two years of peeing in a bucket was rewarded with such a beautiful formality).
Just before graduation, we received the sad news that Peace Corps was discontinuing the PCMI program. There’s not a lot of details or reasoning we found to justify this, other than the program no longer aligned with Peace Corps’ goals as an organization. With the new application process contributing to record-breaking application rates and a modernized logo, it is apparent the Peace Corps has been reevaluating various aspects of their operations. I have to believe the decision to disband PCMI was also made with good reasoning.
I am humbled to have been a part of the PCMI legacy, and thank the Peace Corps and our Office of Global Activities for the partnership and opportunities provided to me and many other PCMI students across the country over the past couple of decades.
xX Nthati Xx