For Peace Corps volunteers it can often feel like our impact is very minimal, and it can be rare to actually see one's impact. I was lucky enough recently to be able to see 20 months of work at site (22 months in Botswana) pay off .Two days ago I went to the Junior school to introduce myself to new students at an assembly because the new school year just began here. At the end of assembly I ended up being left with over 130 Form I students ( about the equivalent of 8th graders in the U.S.) because the teachers who were supposed to be running a new student orientation for them ended up having to go to a workshop instead. I was legitimately told "Just talk to them about HIV or something for 4 hours" on the spot.
No way was I going to just lecture to these students for four hours straight. First of all, I was not prepared, and second of all, I would have gotten sick of listening to myself talk for that long ,and I knew they would have too! Instead, I talked to the guidance teacher and asked him to gather the PACT students to help me. I then watched in awe as my PACT students essentially put on a workshop about HIV, Gender Issues, Dating Relationships, and Substance Abuse for over 130 of their peers without time to prepare and with very little help from me. I literally only had to help them a bit with time reminders and speaking with a few students who were being disrespectful to them. Overall, they kept their peers engaged and happy for four hours and even though I know they were tired and it was not easy for them, they pushed through and were amazing. I was so proud of them that I was almost to the point of tears. Not only were the Junior school PACT students amazing, but I also got to see many of my former primary school PACT students who are now in Form I in action. They were answering questions and among the most engaged students there. I really got to see them put what they had learned through primary PACT club in action as well.
Lately I had been feeling anxious about leaving so soon and wondering what my impact has been here and if it has been enough. I've been afraid of leaving and feeling like my service was incomplete. However, because of these PACT students I now see that I have done something here and will be able to leave feeling like I've left something behind. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful of a feeling this is.