Two pretty major things happened today.

First, I found out I didn’t make it through the second round of the Teach for America admissions process. Although I was disappointed, I wasn’t completely surprised (the surprise was really more that I got through the first round, seeing that TFA has a 9% acceptance rate), and to be honest, I was relieved. Training for TFA would have started in July, which meant I would have had to bail on my commitment to Canyonlands for the summer, as well as any potential travel plans for the next 2 years. I mostly applied because I didn’t want to close any doors, but I’ve had so many open doors to choose from lately, that I’m kind of glad one closed by itself.

Then, two hours later, Ally, my Peace Corp recruiter called.

They want me to go to Africa.

The program description was very vague, and from what I understand things won’t be clear until the last minute, but they want me to take part in a business advising program somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, and that’s pretty much all I know. That and it won’t be a french-speaking country (at least that’s what Ally thinks, as there was no language requirement for the assignment). So, I’ve done my research, and that narrows it down to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, or Sierra Leone. But it could also be Rwanda, Madagascar or Cameroon, who speak French as well as English, or Mozambique and Cape Verde, who speak primarily Portuguese. Based on what Ally said and a bit of research, I think the most likely country is Ghana, which fits the description I was given as well as having an already established small business program. But the program could be new to the country, and I’ve heard several stories of Peace Corp Volunteers who were nominated to work somewhere and ended up on an entirely different continent altogether. So still, really, it could be anywhere.

But it’s definitely exciting to have a better idea. I was a bit shocked by the news, as during my interview I was told I would most likely end up in South or Central America due to my Spanish skills. But I’ll take what I can get, and it’s not like Africa is any less of an incredible opportunity than Latin America.

I feel like the universe is sort of nudging me today, with the TFA and PC news coming within hours of each other. I don’t believe in fate, but I can’t knock the idea that the timing of all of this is a sign.

I’m feeling really good right now. The program doesn’t start until February, so I still have a lot of time (and paperwork!) before any final decisions need to be made. But I think if I had to make the choice at this exact moment, I’d go.

The next step is to convince my parents to be as enthusiastic as I am, which will probably be an adventure in itself.

Wish me luck!


One thought on “Africa

  1. Mariana,
    I just got an email from A who seems to making videos day and night. He mentioned your acceptance by Peace Corps. I just read your blog entry. The vagueness in one way could just be the “Peace Corps” way, but this is may be a bit beyond typical. Do you think there is a chance they are negotiating and about to announce a return to Equatorial Guinea (where they had business advising in the 90s and where they speak Spanish)? Just a thought question.

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