Thursday, October 7, 2010

I joined Peace Corps, not Posh Corps

Posh Corps
The power is off. It is raining outside so I am not surprised at all. Living here in my village I have learned to not take two things for granted-water and power.
It is hot in my room, and I keep hoping the wind will start to blow through my windows to make up for the lack of fan, but it is not changing. The nice thing about having a blackout at this time is that it is daytime. I don’t have to worry about searching for a flashlight to wander about the house, or sit down to a candlelight meal.
Some days power on the whole island goes out. I know this because one of us will text another volunteer, and text another all about having to spend the night in the dark.
The water goes out here daily, and I know my village is unique in this, because most other volunteers only lose their water once or twice a month. I don’t mind this, since we do have a water tank to get our water from.
Other Peace Corps Volunteers call us Posh Corps, or Beach Corps because of our location. They think life is easy for us since we are on the Pacific Islands. Although it is peaceful, and I enjoy it, it is definitely different than our lives were in America. They don’t understand our lives because they don’t experience it first hand. We both experience hardships on our own ways, but just never talk about it with one another to really know what we deal with.
Life might be posh in some standards, but it is not completely. I do get privileged to a hot shower once a month; but the rest of the time I am privileged to bucket showers. Most of the time showers are inside, but some of the people on my group do bathe in the bathing pools, and sometimes we actually have to brave the neighbors and find a way to shower outside. I know not everyone in Peace Corps has electricity, and I love that we do have it here, for peace of mind, as well as safety. We are witness to corporal punishment, as much as we try to stay clear of it, and witnessing that can bring mental stress to anyone. I can go to the city and access “palagi food”, but it can be a long trip. But mostly we have island fever. Peace Corps Volunteers elsewhere have neighboring countries they can visit for a break. We have to hop on a plane to get anywhere. It is easy for us to not see the outside world for two years since it is expensive to travel everywhere.
Our scenery and our beautiful beaches and waterfalls here make life amazing. Whenever you are having a bad day, it is easy to listen to the waves crash to clear your mind. Otherwise ask a kid to climb a tree to get you a delicious snack to remind you how unique island food is. For miles on each direction of my village, everyone knows me by name, and often invite me over for tea. (Although I still do not even know a tenth of their names!) They get mad at me when I go out to exercise, because that takes away time that I could have easily spend hanging out with them.
All of us volunteers are on a rollercoaster ride for two year, we experience hardships as well as some of the best experience ever in our lives. It is our job, and I am sure none of us would change our decision to sign up.

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