This is my final post!
My service ended on April 21, 2016. I lived with my then-fiancée Emma in Blantyre City until we finally received her K-1 visa from the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe. We flew out of Blantyre and arrived in the U.S. on June 14, 2016.
Some final thoughts:
I had a life changing experience, without a doubt. I learned more in Malawi than I taught. It was incredible and put many things in perspective. I met my wife. I made great friends that I’ll cherish for life. I got to do things the majority of people don’t get to do. It was a privilege. I have no regrets. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I was a mini-change agent. More than ever it has made me rethink things in terms of my principles, positions and priorities.
Malawi definitely has headwinds in terms of ‘development’. Above all, sound governance is key. Accountability, transparency and checks on power are essential. With all the blather about the political environment here in the States, I am humbled when I think about what we could have and how lucky we are to have the government we do. I don’t believe there is a ‘silver bullet’. Malawi will just have to press forward and I hope she does — I will forever have ties to Malawi and I only wish the best.
On ‘international development’ or ‘foreign aid’: I have very mixed feelings. I had them before I started Peace Corps and more than 30 months later little has changed other than having an ‘insider’ view of its inner workings. I don’t believe ‘sustainability’ is a thing. It is all a political tool. Even the word ‘development’ to characterize it all makes me cringe.
Peace Corps has been in Malawi for 50 years and will likely be for the next 50 as well.
With that said, if I was put in front of Congress to testify about the Peace Corps, I would tell them to fund it, unequivocally. The Peace Corps is a boutique agency in the federal government and compared to the rest of the aid industry, the Peace Corps is doing things right. Until international aid is revamped (it likely will not be any time soon), the Peace Corps deserves a place at the table.
And let’s end on a cheerful note! The following is the video from my traditional Malawian wedding, called a chinkhoswe. Enjoy!
And finally, a picture from my American wedding that happened on July 29, 2016:
Thanks for reading about my sojourn through Malawi! It truly has been a pleasure.