DEC 1, 2009
Am I happy? And more importantly does it matter? These are the questions that I ask myself not only daily but sometimes hourly. It’s been one year since I’ve been living in Ethiopia and soon it will be one year since I’ve been a sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and have been living in Arjo Guddettu… Am I happy? And does it matter?
I truly think I am a some what of a selfish person. You would have to ask my family to be sure, but to those who really know me… not just kind of know me but REALLY know me, they know that I often depend, rely and care about myself. Why did I join Peace Corps? Because I wanted to help? No, not really. I love volunteer work, actually nothing makes me happier but that’s not why I joined Peace Corps. I could volunteer anywhere. Because I wanted to travel the world? Absolutely, I told Peace Corps on my first interview, ‘I want to be in the health field but really send me anywhere and I’ll do anything’; probably exactly what they wanted to hear. But I meant it; I didn’t have a dollar to my name and I just wanted to be out there.
Now, I am out there. Am I happy? Does it matter? Probably one time out of ten I answer this question with YES I am happy, and NO it doesn’t matter. Because the times I am happiest is when I feel like I’m truly making a difference in someone’s life and then it doesn’t matter if I am happy or not; it’s about them not me. But nine times out of ten I answer, NO I am not happy, and I don’t know if that matters or not.
I came out here to help, so who cares if I’m happy.
I gave up two years of my life so shouldn’t I at least be happy?
A daily battle; a battle I get exhausted just fighting. Sometimes I just stare at the wall for 1, 2, 3 hours at a time wondering… Is it worth it? Is it worth the isolation, is it worth being away from my family, is it worth the daily harassment, is it worth losing touch with friends, is it worth being un-happy… does it matter?
What maybe makes it harder is that now is at the one year mark some really great people are starting to question their being here too. People that I never would have expected to go home. And as I talk with them, counsel them, feel for them, I wonder… Am I happy? Does it matter? I tell them, ‘If your not happy, then go home, it’s not worth it’. I say that will with all sincerity. I say it because I mean it. It’s not worth it. So why don’t I go home… I’m not happy… most of the time. But the times I am happy, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
So is it worth it?