On Why I Decided to Leave Rwanda and the Peace Corps

December 10, 2013

 

Deciding to leave the Peace Corps was probably the most difficult decision I have made in my life. Maybe you knew this was coming, maybe you didn’t. In a preemptive attempt to curb telling this story over and over, I figured I would write out why I did this. 

For the past 8 or so months, I have had some crazy mood swings. I would go from normal, happy-go-lucky Taylor to a crying mess for no reason. At first, I attributed this to part of the Peace Corps process, no one ever said that this experience wouldn’t be emotionally, physically and mentally difficult. I knew it was coming. What I didn’t expect was how difficult it would be to pull myself out of these low periods. And that they would keep coming. No matter what I did. It was hard, but I knew that I could “stick it out”. I thought of all the people I would be letting down if I left: my village, my school, my co-teachers, Rwandan counterparts, Rwandan PCVs and of course all the people at home who sent me love and supported me along the way.

Instead of giving up, I decided to get involved in an effort to stem these bouts of depression. I wrote a grant, built a new court at my school, co-led a two day teacher training, helped with a student 5K, became a trainer for the new Education group in country and planned for two weeks of youth empowerment camps to be held in late November. Needless to say, my weekends filled up and free time was practically non-existent. Still though I couldn’t shake the unhappiness.

This all came to a head when I was to host one of my absolute best friends for a week. Having her here made me remember who I was in America, and the spark that was now missing from my life. We talked a lot about my options and through her I realized that deciding to leave early wasn’t a failure. Instead, I began to see leaving as the healthiest option for me, and one that family and friends would understand. Life is not about just “sticking it out”, life is about enjoying everything to the fullest. Another year of my life being unhappy wasn’t worth the pride of staying. However, I was in the middle of all the craziness I had signed up for. I had responsibilities and projects that I couldn’t leave unfinished.

So I waited until now and on Monday I told Peace Corps that I wanted to leave. I am so appreciative for all the experiences I have had in my 15 months in Rwanda. I am also so happy to have had such wonderful staff at the Peace Corps office that whole-heartedly supported my decision to be happy and healthy. Working in Rwanda is tough to say the least and I would not have made it as far as I did without my wonderful friends there. I will miss you dearly.

Currently I am sitting on a plane to Chicago waiting eagerly to touch down and be back in America. I am so excited to be back with my incredible family and friends for the holidays and make up for lost time. During the holidays I will be in a job-applying frenzy hoping for some good news. Todd and I are looking into getting a place together in January in Washington, D.C. and I couldn’t be more excited about our future together. In the meantime, I will have my old cell phone number again and I would love to catch up with everyone!! Again, thank you all for all the incredible support. You have no idea how much it meant to me. 

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6 thoughts on “On Why I Decided to Leave Rwanda and the Peace Corps

  1. It takes a lot of courage to be honest about one’s feelings, especially when it affects people we love. Thanks for sharing your story!
    I’m really proud of the work you did over there and for taking a leap of faith to go in the first place.
    Come to NC and see us some time!!
    Love,
    PC

  2. Good for you! You’ve done far more than most people. Most people don’t even get off their couches. Welcome back!! And Merry Christmas!

  3. Taylor, you are a remarkable young lady. God took you to Rwanda for a reason. He kept you there as long as he wanted, gave you a job, and you passed with flying colors. Don’t you ever feel bad about taking care of yourself. The people you met there will remember you forever and always, for being a loving, kind-hearted, understanding, intelligent, funny, hard working person, who made their lives better. You did your best, as I knew you would. There is no shame in leaving early. There are blessings all over the world, and you were one blessing to many young children who needed to learn about our world. They could not have had a better teacher than Miss Taylor. We all are so very happy to see you back home, to start more journeys and help more people, through Gods work. You are my hero, my friend, my niece and I love you deeply, from the day you were born, till today I have been blessed to call you family. I love you Taytay. Auntie Karen

  4. know that i’m proud i got dealt you as a cousin….proud of you for going, for all you did and learned and for knowing when it was time to move on…..loving your neighbor as yourself means if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anybody else….hope you and todd will come visit in boston or the vineyard….
    Have a wonderful christmas in every way!!!
    love, fran

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