Happy International Peace Corps Day!

Every morning I walk through a pile of horse crap to get to my latrine, which is infested with insects I can’t identify.

I barely remember the last time I took a shower or the actual color of my feet.

Last week, a drunk man passed out on me in a taxi. A day before, I was on a taxi that came to a screeching halt when the wheel and axle flew off.

At least a dozen times a day I catch someone staring at me, and not just a casual glance but a full-on, mouth-open stare that often lasts as long as I am in the persons peripheral.

A rooster wakes me up each morning and, thanks to the dozens of animals that roam my yard, my roommates are hundreds of flies.

The other day I wanted to do a track workout and shared an inside joke with myself, both signs that my sanity may have walked out the door.

Still, this is the best job I’ve ever had.

When I landed in Philadelphia for staging of my Niger service, I was filled with intense emotions. As I passed through the terminals to get to baggage claim, I came across a poster for Peace Corps. “Never start a sentence with ‘I wish I would have …’” it said. It was a sign that I was on the right path.

Despite all that I been through with Peace Corps, I’ve never been more proud to belong to an organization. The PCV behind my name means more to me than anything else I’ve accomplished in my life and it’s something no one can take from me, not even Al-Qaeda.

Within my 10 and half combined (Niger and Lesotho) months in Peace Corps, I met incredible Americans and Africans. I’ve learned three languages and how to do daily chores without the conveniences of modern technology. I’ve been more engaged with the world and myself. Mostly, I feel like I am contributing something to humanity.

It’s not easy and some days do end in tears, but I’ve never had substantial doubt that I shouldn’t be here. This is right.

Today is International Peace Corps Day and I’m blessed to be one of the lucky few to call themselves a Peace Corps Volunteers. To all of my fellow PCVs and RPCVs, you are an amazing group and I’m humbled to be included with you. You make the world better.

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