One of the alluring things about Peace Corps is that rarely anything goes as planned but that everything always turns out alright.
This is a great organization which has highly effective methods that work well in environments that require high flexibility.
Last words from Rachel before departing L.A. for our layover in Fiji “go straight through to connections, do NOT leave the airport”. Needless to say, we were made to leave the airport… Thanks to some fast thinking and prior networking by the Fiji Country Director we had hot showers and a nearby resort to seek refuge in until we could check in for our flight to Vanuatu. While there, our flight was delayed twice, but because of this the airline provided meal vouchers for us freshly showered travelers.
We have been in Vanuatu around 3 weeks and the road of my journey has been very scenic and well paved but I have also had time to travel over rough patches and potholes.
The Well Paved Road
- The natural beauty everywhere I turn
- Amazing cohort of PCTs(Peace Corps Trainees) that really work and click well
- The caliber of training and trainers
- Swimming/bathing in the river with host siblings and other PCTs and their siblings
- Exploring caves and salt water holes
- Having such an amazing host family that is so attentive and lovely to be around
- The dinners spent laughing at similarities and differences in our cultures
- The humor and awkward situations of learning a new language
- Having a God-fearing host dad that knows the power of prayer and casting out infirmities. This was very well received while Marc and I were both sick.
- Teaching geography on the spot to a classroom of 40 students
- Successfully showing a coconut who is boss
Rough Patches and Potholes
- Marc was sick for almost all of the first 3 weeks we were here. ( He is better now!! Yay!)
- Figuring out where I fit in best and what I bring to the group and the Peace Corps table
- Getting a lower assessment grade than I expected on the first language assessment (I am doing well but was over confident in my ability because of the great encouragement from my host family)
- Getting food poisoning and having to wash out my favorite pair of leggings with my newly issued wire brush and the strongest soap lying around at 3am, while currently still suffering from the food poisoning… this is the moment where I felt I had officially earned my Peace Corps status..
- Having my host sister tell me that white people (foreigners) learn better/quicker than black people (natives). This was a heart breaking reality on how many locals see themselves. It lead into a great conversation about resources and opportunity and made me realize how I want to shape my approach to local students and their confidence in themselves on a global scale.
Even now as I write this post, I feel guilty to be born with the privilege of the developed world. As I write this, I am appreciating being able to stretch out in a hot bath, in a nice hotel, awaiting Cyclone Donna to make her move. It was hard leaving my host family and most my belongings in the training village but mostly just knowing that if weather does get bad I will have the power of the U.S. keeping me safe but that my newly adopted family will be here to fend for themselves. I feel they will prioritize keeping our stuff safe over theirs if anything were to happen. This is unsettling to me. No matter where I go I will be a product of a developed world. This privilege is not one you can escape, no matter how immersed you become.
My wish is to make it a tool in creating better self esteem and skills in my counterparts and not have it be a stumbling block to community sustainability.
I will leave this post on a lighter note with a phrase (completely made up) that I feel sums up life so far this trip.
“When life gets crazy, but you know it’s all under control, even though you have no clue what’s next… Peace Corps”