With so much love, the Goffbergs

This is a long post without pictures so we appreciate you taking the time to read it.

Nothing about being in the Peace Corps is easy to explain.  Most of it isn’t easy for us to understand as we are experiencing it.  It changes a little bit every day and, at the same time, it stays the same. If we have spoken with you in recent months we may have mentioned bits of this story here or there, in various levels of detail, and with a variety of perspectives, because that too has been changing. I am writing this post to try to explain a bit about our current, very complicated situation. I am writing this to explain it to myself as I am explaining it to you.

Jon and I approached joining Peace Corps with an “all-in” attitude.  It was a life-long dream of mine and it took the two of us years to both be ready together.  We quit our jobs of 10+ years, sold our house and said goodbye for 27 months.  We even considered extending beyond than that.  We were super pumped every step along the way and did everything to keep up our PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) throughout.  I think that most people would agree that we were incredibly positive, loved the Peace Corps, and couldn’t have been happier with our site assignment of Kanye (it is “the most beautiful village in all of Botswana”) and our assigned positions.  It was and is all true but it is ever changing.

As I mentioned in a recent post, Jon has had health concerns which began in June and they have never fully resolved.  In August, Peace Corps wanted to send us to the States for treatment but we knew that that was, more likely than not, a one-way ticket home.  We weren’t ready.  We were able to compromise with a visit to Pretoria (our regional medical headquarters). Over the past several months Jon has endured lots of medical treatments including surgery, months of antibiotics, and jillions of medications some of which made him feel worse than his actual illness.  Peace Corps has had quite a challenge deciding how to treat him so they attacked the problem from at all angles once.  The net result is that Jon hasn’t felt like himself in a long time.

Dealing with the medical complications, and the systems that they are treated in, has impacted us both mentally.  We are exhausted. This exhaustion has somewhat blurred our super rosy perception of the Peace Corps, the work that we do, our ability to do it, and the impact we will have in Botswana.  We have been questioning all of it.  Have we done all that we can do here?  Is a successful PCV defined by completing 27 months of service?  Is it better to leave now while we still have some positivity and love for this country? Is any of this worth the negative impact on Jon’s health?  Is it worth the impact on our happiness at site? This is all very complicated and intertwined.  None of it occurs in a vacuum.

The point of all of this is that we have agreed to follow the advice we received in August and take some time at home, lovingly called a “Medical Evacuation” by Peace Corps.  Though Jon’s medical concerns aren’t immediately dire, we have exhausted our options here and waiting until after October 2016 for additional treatment just isn’t wise. We don’t know what the “med evac” will look like at this point.  We will stay with loving and supportive friends in Philly at first. Jon will get medical follow ups. We will see friends and family and try to obtain clarity.  This all may sound dramatic and, at times, it feels that way. But really, it isn’t. You will see our smiling faces and we will see yours. We are so happy and grateful for the opportunity.

The past few months have been heartbreaking as we have come to terms with the fact that we might have to leave our service early.  At this point, we are trying to keep our hearts and minds open to all future possibilities. But, for now, this is the right decision at the right time for us.  Thanks for caring enough to read this post. We will land in Philly on Tuesday morning!

With so much love, the Goffbergs

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