Chelsi watched the time on her watch roll by from 14:00 to 14:01. “Alright, well I guess I’m not too surprised no one’s here.”
“Is this normal?” Zach, a new RAP trainee asked. “That just no one shows up to your programs?”
“In my area, yeah, it’s pretty par for the course.” Chelsi responded with a voice free from bitterness. With only three weeks remaining in her village, she found herself freed of the feelings of anger and frustration she had felt. Mostly because those feelings were being overcome with anxiety and uncertainty of what was to happen once she left her house for the last time.
She had the plan laid out the best she could; pull from site, spend a few days in Solwezi, start hitching Tuesday morning, arrive no later than Wednesday to Lusaka. Arrangements for Daisy’s extended stay at the kennel in Lusaka had already been made. Then there will be ring out, I’ll spend a few days in Lusaka, figure out how to get to Siavonga, set up the house there, go back to Lusaka, then leave for home leave. In her mind is all worked out more fluid that water; but she knew better than to trust the best laid plans…
“So then? What do we do?” This was Zach’s first time in the village, having arrived in Zambia about two months prior. Up until his arrival at Chelsi’s house earlier that week, Peace Corps had kept him, like all volunteers in training, in a tightly controlled environment, where the realities of everyday living as a volunteer were rarely discussed.
“Well, I’m going to go out and find the people who said they would be here for the program and make them come.” All around it was far from an ideal situation but it was her responsibility to make sure that the new trainees got full exposure to life as volunteer. In three days they would be on their own in the village for the weekend and after returning to Lusaka for two week they would be posted to their villages and on their own. “Just wait here with Adam and Amanda, and Jeremy and I’ll be back in a bit.”
Chelsi walked off her porch all bent over and towards the road. Daisy came bounding out of the bushes after her. She was baffled that the girls hadn’t come. For two weeks the girls from GLOW, Peace Corps girls’ empowerment camp, had been excited about teaching some of the things that they had learned at camp. But now that the time came there was no one to be seen.
Chelsi and Daisy walked up the dust road collecting girls, and some boys, along the way. ‘Didn’t you remember? We were supposed to be making copper rings today,’ she asked them as they followed her back to the house. They nodded along, smiling happily. Chelsi’s departure still felt like a lifetime away to them. ‘But if we can’t make copper rings today, then we will tomorrow,’ they responded.
There’s always tomorrow here, Chelsi thought to herself. And it’ll be the same as today, the same as yesterday. Two years of worth of yesterdays, and today, and it’s still all about tomorrow.