I have been asked a lot lately 'when are you coming home?' The question for me was a lot harder and complicated than 'my time in PC ends in December.' For work reasons I have been considering extending my service in the PC. I wavered back and forth for at least a month on what I should do. For me, the real question was 'What do I want to do with my life?' If I could answer that question then I could decide if it would be smarter for me to leave or stay in PC.
So, why have I even been considering extending? I originally said to myself that I would never even consider extending unless I had full time work, not as it is now: periods of a lot work and periods of very little work. Well, turns out that I do have full time work in my future. I have been and continue to be very busy with preparing project proposals. I am working with Fizuli's organization to design and prepare two projects dealing with building the capacity of 8 municipalities in 4 regions to be more democratic, transparent and citizen-orientated. There are two separate projects, one focusing on the 8 municipalities and youth and one focusing on the 8 municipalities and women. For the donor organization these projects will be a pilot program to possibly implement in other regions. Each of the projects will be 12 months and will probably start in August. After have been repeatedly asked, by both Fizuli and the donor organization, to extend my service in the PC to continue to work on these projects, I actually started to consider extending.
So back to the question of what to do with my life. After much prayer and seeking the opinion and advice of professionals in the various career fields I am considering I have finally come to a decision. I have decided to extend my time in PC for an additional 6 months, as of right now I am planning to leave in either May or June of next summer. (I have until December to give my exact date of leaving the PC and I am figuring out the best date for me to leave in regards to my plans for after PC.) I chose to stay for career purposes as I have decided to pursue the field of International Development. The reason I am leaving next summer is to give myself 2 months (1 month for personal travel in Europe and 1 month to spend with family and friends in the US) before I start graduate school, inshallah, next Fall. I will be taking the GRE in December and applying in January for 5 graduate programs to receive my MA in International Development or Public Policy (the program name varies from school to school). The schools I am considering are all on the East Coast, the majority in Washington, D.C.
So, that is where I am now - one year before I will be coming home. But, the positive side I will soon have access to video skype whenever I want to use it so I will be able to see and talk to you all for free, if you have skype! We will be getting DSL in Fizuli's office for the projects and Fizuli is going to buy a webcam and headset for me to use - so let me know if you want to set up skype dates!