II. The Final Countdown

final_countdownThe final countdown has indeed began. It’s hard to believe that in one week I’ll be beginning a 27 month endeavor 8,500 miles away from the only home I’ve ever known. It feels like just yesterday when I was sitting in the Peace Corps’ office on Monroe St., interviewing and beginning a 9 month process of background checks, medical tests, immunizations, and loads of research into a culture I knew very little about.

The last month has been filled with joyous gatherings of family, friends, and colleagues. As we bid our farewells, I am overwhelmed with the amount of support and gratitude expressed by everyone. My mother and grandparents hosted a going-away party at the Vernon Hills Golf Course which was fantastic. Seeing folks from all walks of my life come together for a proper sendoff was great. Here are the pictures. The St. Mary of Vernon Men’s Club gave a very sincere toast at the annual Mickey Finn’s meeting. I also worked my final day at Maine West yesterday and while the exit was bittersweet, I appreciate all the words of encouragement from staff and faculty. It was a memorable 2 years of employment there and I most certainly gained valuable experience that I will be able to apply in the future. I wish them all the best with the realization of the 21st century classroom becoming a reality in the following years.

So what’s next?
The unique anticipation for chartering into the deep unknown is a feeling of which I’ve never experienced. I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead while having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of such a proud culture. On Wednesday June 5th, I’ll be taking a flight from O’Hare to Philadelphia for a quick orientation. Can’t wait to meet my fellow volunteers of whom I’ve been in contact with on Facebook since March. At 2:30AM we’ll be taking  a bus JFK where we will board a 15 hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Finally from there we’ll be taking a pond jumper to the capital city Maseru, Lesotho and begin the 2 month pre-service training (PST). The training encompasses language, cultural, and job specific skills. During this time I’ll be living with a host family to help assist with integrating into the culture.

Stay tuned for updates from the beautiful Kingdom of Lesotho!

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6 Comments

  1. Peace and blessings to you, my friend. Only good things are wished for you on this wonderful journey!

  2. Travis,you will be very missed. I am so impressed by your wanting to help others. Travel safe, enjoy what you can. Write often. Learn all you can. This is an amazing life experience.

  3. I am looking forward to your blogs. I am so proud of you as you set forth the goal of making a difference in this world. Keep in touch so we all know you are safe and healthy. XO

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