The content of this blog does not reflect the positions of the Peace Corps and is solely the responsibility of the author.

In Which I am Proud to be Peace Corps

At an airport in Newark, a young man came unto me, and lo! He was clad in skintight kneelength jeanshorts, a sleeveless green shirt with horizontal wipestripes, and a straw hat, and this man said unto me, "are you going to Amsterdam?" To this I replied proudly, "no, we are Peace Corps, and we are going on to Tanzania."

Another of my fellow volunteers, a man who is a returned Peace Corps volunteer going back for a second run, came up to me and said, "I heard you tell that man we were Peace Corps, and how proud you sounded! It is something to be proud of, we waited so long and worried so much about this, and now we are Peace Corps!"

Indeed and forsooth. We are Peace Corps. We had a day of lectures about the proud tradition of the Peace Corps, in the Nice Hotel without free internet or breakfast (rich people must enjoy unnecessarily paying for things) and the incorrectly labeled shower water temperatures, but it is not the lectures about Peace Corps that make me proud, it is being able to tell poorly dressed young men that I am Peace Corps. It is knowing an older and already got the t-shirt and going back for a second time volunteer who is still excited and happy that the younger voluneers will proudly claim membership in this community that makes me proud.

It is not Getting Acquainted activites that form Cameraderie with my fellow volunteers (two of whom are RPCVs), it is being roused out of bed for 8am yellow fever shots and then having to wait for an hour for the clinic to actually open. It is the sitting around in the Newark airport for four hours sneakily sneaking a bottle of whiskey, playing cards, and playing the ukelele (well, one of us) in front of disapproving gate agents who are going to an afterlife of rice cakes and prunes. It is the 3 hour sushi dinner courtesy of government money in which we had Scintillating Conversation while waiting for food from a restaurant not staffed for a party of 21.

Do I wish to be bosom friends with all 38 of my fellow group of volunteers? Of course not, some of them are so very very young just out of college sorts of volunteers. Sweet, but young. Says the 25-year-old. Could I wish there were more ICT volunteers with me and that I was not the only woman of the three of us? Yes, but this is a known and familiar problem.

I have come from long lectures and Group Activites, there has been Waiting and Lines and a shot, a bus ride, and an incipient 2 day plane ride for the which I am sitting, thank Bernoulli, in the exit row of a plane, that being the only place other than business class with seats designed for adult humans. Yet I am not lethargically travel-depressed, but excited. There is a full moon out the window, shining behind cirrus clouds to show us our way.

In clouds above clouds,
Lit by Chinese lantern moons,
paths to distant worlds.