We had our PC Close-of-Service (COS) conference in May. COS Conference is a time for all us PCVs that have served together these past two years to sit down with PC staff and prepare for the end of our service.
The conference was held at a really fancy hotel called the Sunbird. It's a chain of hotels here in Malawi that is way out of the price range of a PCV, so it was a nice treat for us. The shower was so nice-- perfect pressure and warm right away. And sometimes they left cookies in our room! Plus the food was amazing.
The hotel was right on the lake, but PC had a full program for us everyday. So we didn't have much time to go swimming. Plus it was kinda cold. In fact I only went in the water once.
During the conference, PC gave us paperwork to fill out, we had one last security and medical briefing, and then a ton of career stuff. Our CD sat down with us to look over our resumes, and they told us about Non-competitive eligibility with the federal government and provided interview and networking tips.
They invited a panel of four local RPCVs to speak with us. Three had served in Africa and the fourth had been a PCV in Ecuador (if I recall correctly). They shared their stories about readjusting to life back in America after PC and finding a job. What I took from their stories is that PC has probably changed me more than I realized, that it's gonna be rough going back, and that it will probably take six months or more to find a job. But on the positive side, now I'm part of a new PC community for life! Also I was thinking how glad I am to be able to readjust alongside Colii.
The last day each of us was assigned one other PCV from our group to reminisce about. I got my friend Shamie so it was difficult to limit it to just a few minutes because we've had a lot of fun these past couple years! Everyone shared really sweet and funny memories about each other. Some people wrote poems and sang songs. I teared up a little at the end, just looking around at these wonderful people who I didn't even know a few years ago, but now they have shared and supported me through some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life.
Meanwhile, throughout the conference we were expected to be collecting a daily stool samples to be sent to the PCMO at the end of the conference. That's another first for me in PC-- giving stool samples. They were checking for worms and other parasites. We'll be doing more med stuff right before we leave the country at the end of July too. But hopefully no more stool samples!
Here is a photo of all of us on the beach the last day of the conference:
Hard to believe it's all going to be over soon...