What Peace Corps (PC) Is(n’t) for Me

image

PC is not me coming to save a village. PC is me learning more from them than they ever will from me. PC is an inexplicable job description. PC is only partly about being a teacher. PC is trying not to disappoint my host family too much by not going to church. PC is sitting on my porch with my sullen but sweet host sister, pretending her mom isn’t calling in the distance. PC is failing miserably at every house chore. PC is not being perceived as a flawless white person. PC is experiencing enormous privilege as a white person. PC is people standing so I have a chair. PC is the school letting me do pretty much whatever I want. PC is appreciating my polygamist host dad and the time he walked my bike six miles to get it fixed. PC is not always knowing why I’m here. PC is sitting in my bed, wondering why I’m here, then a kid I never met shows up for help on his English homework. PC is showing my students American money for the first time. PC is working at a school that runs out of chalk and food. PC is feeling lonely and surrounded by love in the same hour. PC is reading more books in 10 months than I did in the last 5 years. PC is frogs living in my house and I don’t care. PC is the termite build up in my shower. PC is getting to witness a baby’s first steps. PC is finally owning a plant that I haven’t killed yet. PC is not running a bunch of programs by myself. PC is helping to make connections and facilitate discussions and watching the community do its thing. PC is suddenly knowing information about bike derailleurs and maize harvesting. PC is the kids you reference when you say, “Eat your vegetables, kids in Africa are hungry,” are sitting on my porch while I cook. PC is sometimes getting mad at hungry kids. PC is Googling “How do you know if you have bed bugs?”. PC is being confident that the community cares about me not just as a volunteer but as a human. PC is not me going off to save the world. PC is, I think, being part of the world in a new way.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s