The summer is over and you’re on top of Mt. Ngaoundere for the first time since summer started. You saw chimps in the forest of the East, your host family in the South and two weddings in the North West. When you came home though you had to rush home for a death. Your life cracked and came back together in a new way, parts tarnished, parts polished. A good friend visited for a few days before you flew off to Togo. It was nice to be with an old friend in Togo; her in the midst of the new life in her and you in the midst of dealing with a new death. You reflect on all of this on top of the mountain. Above you a golden brown hawk, or falcon, drifts gingerly on some invisible current of air. Below you you hear a cry and look to see one of the elusive monkeys of the mountain. You watch butterflies dance in a way that you could call aquatic above the almost neon grass shinning against the bluest sky. You breath in the air that stretches past the sight of eyes and feel the warm embrace of the sun. The summer is over and you feel ready.
The school year is starting and you feel prepared. The first year of teaching is always the worst and no one is good at it at. You know what you need to do this year and are excited to do a better job. Somehow in the midst of the challenges of teaching in Cameroon you love the process, you love seeing knowledge and learning build. You know you have found something you want to do, if not for your life then for a good portion of it. You have literacy projects planned for the primary and kindergarten that you are excited to develop. The children are happy to see you again, and who can’t be happy at the laughter and smiles of children? Outside of Peace Corps you have to start getting your life ready for afterwards; grad school applications. In reality you have less then a year, about ten months.
Time has become some passing comment.
Before the summer your hope was gone, sapped dry, like a child sucks a honeysuckle. You felt like the end of dry season, dirty and cracked. About you now are seas of green with islands of ancient rocks perched atop the waves. At night the spill of the milky way stretches beyond the reaches of comprehension. The cool air of the moto drive makes you forget the frustrations, for you are going somewhere, it is the journey, and you are ready for the challenge.