Two Years Goes By Quickly

Two years can seem like an eternity.  Or rather, two years is a long time for someone only a quarter of a century old.  Two years is imperceptible and can seem especially slow moving given the abrupt change of pace, the change of settings, the unfamiliarity and being so far away from the familiar. 

Even months or a year in, two years is incalculable in many ways.  Only until the Peace Corps COS (close of service) conference three months before your departure date, where all the volunteers from your promotion gather around and get the low-down on the readjustment process, does it slowly start to sink in that your time is coming to a close.  Your friends are all organizing their plans, trips around the continent or rushing home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  And slowly, people start leaving.


Back at site, people are equally starting to get sad.  Inevitably, people have gotten used to the big tall gringo or the weird looking mozungu walking around and can’t really understand why you want to leave.  What’s wrong with our town? It’s nice, peaceful.  You’ll have a good life here!

The ups and downs of Peace Corps

(+51): Bad news: the hardware store hasn’t delivered any of the materials and looks like we’ll be at least one more day behind.  Good news: lomo saltado for lunch.

One of the many lessons I’ve learned about any Peace Corps experience, a universal fact, if you will, is that you will experience highs and lows.  The highs will be high, and the lows will be low.  And, they might be with you for hours or days and can easily change even hour to hour. 

mantisThat was today.  I woke up early (5:45am) to wait for a bus into recover my cell phone from a doctor who was handing it off before he went further up the road in the bus.  You see, my phone fell out of my pocket on Saturday and thankfully he picked it up and instead of simply turning it off and selling the phone, he held on to it and agreed to return it.  Didn’t even take a bill I tried to sneak into his hand.  So good start to the day. Next was frantically calling families to tell them that the truck was coming up today to drop off building materials for the bathrooms.  Then I call the Muni to see what time we’re going, and I’m told it ain’t happening today (see above text).

The dry bathroom project has been sucking the fun out of me for the last few months.  Various bureaucratic roadblocks have held up the works, and now we’re dealing with hardware store problems.  That problem is the hardware store gladly accepted the Municipality’s money and then informed us it’ll be a few days to deliver all the materials (it was a bulk order).  But it still hasn’t come.  What kind of hardware store doesn’t have bricks or can’t get 100 bags of cement in a week?

So that left me pretty furious at Peru.  I went on up to visit the health post to get a change of scenery, and talked with the Doctor about this and that,  and calmed down a bit, then went over to my community partner’s house to pass on the bad news.  She invited me in, and we talked while she was cooking.  And without even asking or saying anything, she set down a huge plate of noodles and a juice and I dug in.  After a while, we were talking about other things, joking about this and that, and then after awhile I left her house.  I stormed up to her house pretty frustrated and angry, but even without resolution to my frustration, I left a lot calmer and happier.  That’s how it is.

Some days, you’ll hate Peace Corps and the host country.  You get tired of the jokes that aren’t funny, a culture that isn’t yours, little kids staring at you. And other days, you’re making the stupid jokes, felling like a rock star walking down the street with everyone calling your name.  There’s days you think about packing your bags and leaving, and other days where you think you could definitely stay here awhile.