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August 25, 2000 (Email)
A Really Good Person

I'm writing to you from Kalaiya -- Sommer's post, 5 hours west of Janakpur.  Juni (Virginia) and I received an email from Sommer in Hawaii where she was sent for medical reasons.  She's decided not to come back to Nepal.  I don't think the medical problems were the reason for her decision -- just the last straw. She was upset about some other things as well, missed her boyfriend, etc. 

Anyway, she asked Juni and I to go to her post and separate all of her things into groups: things she wants sent to her, things to give to her headmiss, things to give to her landlady, things to give to a friend in Kalaiya, and things for other volunteers. A lot of work. She wanted us to get to her post and do all this for her before anybody found out she wasn't coming home -- to make sure everyone got what she intended them to have. The "giving out" of things when a volunteer leaves Nepal is always a huge headache. There are always dozens of people waiting to swoop down and scavenge those things we can't take with us when they know we're leaving. 

It was really sad spending a day sorting through and packing all of her things. She was one person in the group who everyone liked and got along with well. A really good person.

The peace corps office, as always, did not miss this opportunity to be difficult and unreasonable. 
Instead of...

  1. Thanking Virginia and me for telling them that Sommer was not returning to Nepal (which I don't think she wanted us to reveal to anybody quite so soon), or
  2. Thanking us for taking care of informing people at her post about her, and for separating and packing up her things and making sure everything got to the right people (which Peace Corps would not have been able to do as well or to the level of detail Sommer wanted), or even
  3. Asking me how it was I was able to be here on a Friday (school is closed for Krishna's birthday, which was Tuesday) 
...instead of all this, my boss decided my call to the office would be a good opportunity to reprimand me for leaving my post without first letting him know I was leaving (and for my "delinquent" behavior in general). Peace Corps regulations do not require us to tell the office about trips away from post of less than 3 days, so I don't entirely understand my boss's upset at not telling him prior to my leaving as opposed to after I left. (I didn't have to call at all!) I did, of course, tell my headmiss and landlady where I was in case I needed to be reached. Kalaiya isn't much of a vacation destination, so I also can't figure what he thinks my improper motives for coming here could possibly have been. 

It's really aggravating that as soon as I am completely comfortable with my work and living conditions in Nepal  and feel that I am actually accomplishing some things at my school/community, I have to deal with waves of presumptuousness, insecurity, and  spitefulness from the office. I feel like I'm in some sort of Kafka-esque junior high; I get reprimanded everytime I attempt to deal with the office, but I can never comprehend why -- only that the reasons seem to be silly. My program officer actually accused me of "playing favorites" in the office. I mean, is this guy 12 years old to be saying things like this? I could care less if he likes me or not, and I wish it didn't matter to him whether I liked him or not. I just wish he would behave like a program officer and treat me like a volunteer. Blah. I'm not the only volunteer who feels this way -- volunteers from older groups constantly advise us to avoid  the office as much as possible. It just seems like I've been getting the brunt of the office's silliness lately.

OK - now for the reason I'm writing. I reserved a ticket for myself leaving Nepal for Munich on October 16, and leaving Munich for Nepal on November 1. I  would arrive in Munich on the evening of the 16th, but could meet you (mom and dad)  in Frankfurt any day after that. Don't worry about us flying in/out of different cities -- trains are cheap in Germany and I was planning to go to Munich regardless of which airport I flew into. I won't be in Kathmandu until September 18th. For now, call me any evening after 8:30 or morning before 9:30 and I'll almost surely be in. Evenings around 8:30 would be the best.


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