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5/25/09 So long, farewell, aufweidersehen, goodbye...

Today, the SouqTown gang threw a going-away party for our departing Volunteers, COSing after two years of service. It was a night of hugs, laughter, somber moments and riotous good times. I will neither confirm nor deny the presence of an alleged bonfire. ;)

I've known this day would come. All Peace Corps service follows the same schedule, so today couldn't be a surprise...but it's still wrenching.

The newbies came to the party, but it's different for them - just as it was different for me, a year ago, saying goodbye to people I'd known for only a couple of days and who I was looking forward to replacing.

After those folks COS'd, there were 14 of us in the SouqTown region. One has since ET'd, and another was MedSep'd. Of the remaining 12, 6 are leaving now. Fully half of my PCV friends and neighbors are cycling out.

They're excited, of course, because they're moving onto the next chapter of their lives. They anticipate seeing family and friends; some will head off to grad school; others have jobs waiting for them; others apprehensively try their luck, entering the American job market. One has a fiancee waiting for him - he's easily the happiest about going home. :) They're all moving on.

But for the six of us staying behind, we've just lost half our family.

Alhumdulillah, we got a great crop of newbies. Seven newly sworn-in Peace Corps Volunteers have moved into the region; four are assuming the posts of previous PCVs, and three are moving into new sites.

Meeting the newbies has made everything much easier; it helps to know that our now-13-member family will continue to be fantastic. :) But it's still hard to say goodbye.

Farewell, friends... Please stay in touch. I wish you joy and hope and purpose and freedom in your new adventures, and I hope you'll keep us informed as to what form those adventures take.

You will never be forgotten.

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