Peace be with you
Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
16Trip End Jun 01, 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Yesterday, I got more answers about the visa situation. I've been waiting in Durmen for about a week, my 1st week as a volunteer, was uneventful. At the ceremony last week, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign affairs told us that we were getting our visas that day. It was a verbal promise and we all applauded the good news. To find out that what he said wasn't true, that our visas were still "in process", was a huge disappointment. So we made plans to meet a week later to discuss what will happen next, or to hand out the visas, I hoped for the latter. So yesterday at the meeting we received good news and also not so good news. The good news...15 people received 2-month visas!!! So the process is moving in the right direction, and the MFA said that they would issue 15-20 visas per day. Even though they say this, doesn't mean anything, I won't believe it until my visa is in my hand. Of the 15 people, Tamar and Ryan are going, two people that have become my friends. I'm really happy for them that they can go to their sites now but I'm sad to see them go. Tamar and I have been together almost everyday since we arrived, she's a good friend, provides support and encouragement. I will miss her. We also found out today that Uz18 had our first ET (early termination). This news was surprising and I didn't have the chance to say goodbye.
So the other news...my visa expires next week, April 19th, along with 47 others. At the meeting yesterday, plan B, C, D, and E were discussed - what if they don't give visas? Where will we go? What will happen? I understood that if the 48 of us don't have visas by this weekend, that PC would make arrangements for us to go to Almaty, Kazakhstan to wait for our visas. The time limit is approaching but I really don't think this will happen - just a gut feeling. The government wants PC here, or else we wouldn't be in Uzbekistan, and all they would have to do is ask us to leave. The senior PC staff described to us, that was is going on is a power play to clearly communicate to us that they (the government) are in control. We would go to Almaty because PC doesn't want a large group of volunteers sitting around without visas. Plan C and beyond, the very last case scenario, we all go back to the U.S. and various roads can be taken from there. I'm personally not even considering this as an option, but...if it did happen I don't know what I would do. The Master's International program complicates my situation, because my master's degree hinges on my PC service. Anything is possible, I know some foreigners here have been without visas for months. So everyone, not just Peace Corps, is having problems renewing theirs. Another meeting was scheduled for this Wednesday, April 13th, and hopefully more visas will be passed out.
The situation I am faced with makes me wonder why I'm in Uzbekistan. It's easy to forget the motivation behind Peace Corps' presence here during this struggle with the government. It would be easy to pack up and go home if we were here for the government's sake. But I'm not here for their sake; I'm here to help those on the other end of the social spectrum. Focusing on the people that I live and work with everyday and those that I haven't met yet, the decision to pack up is still easy...I don't leave. So I'm not going to my site now, and it won't be in the next few days either, but unless the entire PC presence in Uzbekistan leaves, then I'm staying. Even if I have to wait 2 months, that's only a fraction of my 2 year service here.
I think about all of this, different scenarios go through my mind, and I think about how I would respond to each, but I've come to realize that worrying doesn't help. The situation is out of my hands, in a physical and spiritual sense. I can't go to the MFA and demand my visa; they wouldn't listen to me and would probably arrest me. In a spiritual sense, I trust in God and know that He will take care of it. Whether we stay or leave, I know it's his will. Knowing this and believing this, I find a great sense of peace and comfort. Please don't worry about me, I'm doing fine and I know that everything will be OK. Please keep Uzbekistan, its people, and me in your thoughts and prayers.
Take care. Thanks for all the emails, letters, and packages.
Peace and Love