sitting on the dock of the bay…

I have so much I want to say about this, but I’ll keep it short for now, with more to come later.

I am deeply saddened to announce that due to continued safety and security concerns – mainly the recent al-Quada kidnapping/murder of two Frenchmen from a bar in the capital – Peace Corps has permanently suspended all programs in Niger.

All 98 volunteers, including me, have been safely evacuated to Morocco to await reassignment or return home.

Though I personally always felt completely safe in-country, especially in my village, I understand and agree with the decision to leave. Please keep the people of Niger in your thoughts – it is they who will be impacted the most by this tragic turn of events. The people who took me in, shared with me what little they had, and became my family will always be in my heart. Kala hanfo & fonda tilas ay corey.

Not sure what the future holds for me – but I am confident, as always, that Peace Corps will take care of me. Depending on what’s available, I do have the option at this time to take another assignment in a different country (anywhere in the world where Volunteers serve) and basically start Peace Corps over again – going through training, learning a new language, integrating into a new culture, and serving 27 more months. Obviously it is not a decision to take lightly and I will continue updating this blog as I get more information.

This was the best experience I’ve ever had and I’m so grateful to the outstanding PC/Niger staff and my wonderful fellow Volunteers. Thanks all for your support over these amazing six months.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 18:45:23

    My vote is for the Carribean… I’ll come and visit if you twist my arm.

    Reply

  2. Jessica Matias
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 18:51:51

    Oh wow, Jess. Glad to hear you are safe and sound. Fingers crossed that you will get to return to your village, but if not, I know you will make the choice that is right for you. TFJ

    Reply

  3. Renee
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 23:13:40

    I heard about this, I’m glad you guys are safe. Hope you get to continue to serve elsewhere!

    Reply

  4. Barbara Moss
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 23:36:10

    You and your fellow pcvs are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply

  5. Brad Matlack
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 23:48:46

    We’ll be praying. I am certain that you have had just as much of a profound impact on you friends in Niger. What an adventure…

    Reply

  6. Mary Schwendeman
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 03:26:10

    Layla:
    Weigh the pros and cons of your choices. Then when all is said and done–follow your heart. It will lead you to the right place. Love M

    Reply

  7. Maureen Strobeck
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 17:25:29

    Jessica Maureen-
    I am your 2nd cousin (and, I allow myself to believe, your namesake!) and have kept up with your mission through Mary. Every part of it has been a wonderful (though very tough) experience that you can never trade away. But as much as it is heartbreaking to leave your Niger family (as they will now always be) there are so many places in the world that need a YOU, I know your next journey will be as fulfilling. For now, be safe! Your family back home (from Ohio, to AZ, to StL, to Orlando) is praying for you!
    Maureen Dunlavy Strobeck

    Reply

  8. K.A.W.
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 02:16:52

    I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you luck in whatever decision you make.

    Reply

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