Volunteering in the Peace Corps, I hear that we PCVs all share certain experiences. Year of service, country of service, job title – despite differences in all these areas, PCVs often have the same feelings just by working in a developing country.
I recently read “Away from Home” by Lillian Carter, taken from the Ha’apai Peace Corps Office’s library. Though she served as a health volunteer in India 1966-1968, her collection of letters to her daughter could very well be something that we PCVs in Tonga say today.
“One thing I yearn for on my vacation – PRIVACY! I doubt that I’ll have that, because wherever I go, a crowd gathers.”
“How I wish you could see India through your own eyes. I know the sameness of my days must get boring, but I do have some experiences here that almost defy words.”
“I’m feeling so damned low and useless! I have been here exactly six months now, and I needed a MORALE booster, so I went out and bought four cans of pineapple juice!”
“We have to go to Bombay for another Peace Corps meeting on whether or not to continue the family planning program. Frankly, I couldn’t care less, and know we will just hear the same old B.S., but maybe they will serve dinner.”
“I’ve been barefoot all day – anyone can go barefoot any time here, outside or inside.”
“Gosh, how the time is flying! The closer the time comes, the more upset I get about coming home. Why? I don’t know but I am. ... How can I stand it, when I bawl at the very thought of leaving them – these wonderful people, for whom I’ve done so little, but who have done so much for me!”