In my panicked last few days in the States when I was questioning the soundness of my mind, the ambiguity of what was before me, and my own capability of handling whatever was next, my dad wisely told me to just take things a step at a time. Flying from Bentonville to Houston to Miami to Kingston, I repeated that to myself over and over. Through staging and meeting thirty other Jamaican Peace Corps trainees I told myself that whenever someone mentioned their trek through Cambodia, or the non profit they started, or their detective career with the NYPD (yes, I am serving with a diverse and very talented cohort) until I ended up at the Peace Corps HQ in Kingston. Then in between countless (and necessary) information sessions I had a conversation with a former Peace Corps staff member who mentioned the phrase “One one cocoa full basket”. I asked what he meant and he explained the Jamaican proverb as advice for taking your time to arrive at a certain point – that you fill up your basket one cocoa at a time until your basket is full. Well… of course that delighted me and it has become my Jamaican life motto.
I am currently living day to day as each one is full of language and cross cultural training, policy briefings, and informational sessions. I also have a wonderful host family here that I will be very sad to leave. My youngest host sister calls me “Aunty Britt” and my heart just about explodes every single time she says it. She keeps me laughing and feeling loved.We will be at our current site for another week and half and then we will be splitting up into education and environment sectors to receive six weeks of intensive practical and hands on training on a different part of the island. If all goes well I will be officially swearing in as a Peace Corps volunteer at the end of May!