Thursday, August 22, 2013

What will matter when I'm gone

I've spent some time this week thinking about my service. I guess that is normal since I just finished my 3 month diagnostic phase and my 3 month IST wherein I am meant to plan my entire first year of service.

I've decided that what I do with adults won't do much. Most of the women I work with are over 80 years old or near to it and stuck in their ways. I'm all for it. They seem happier than a lot of the people I know back home, and if thinking that opening the fridge when it's hot out will make your face get stuck in a weird look is part of that happiness, then they just won't open the fridge very much.

Then I think about kids here, and what I could maybe do for them.

I think a lot about the little girl in my house. I was helping her with her homework last night. The question was, "What country do you live in?" She had no idea. Neither did the Don at my house, but he had a stroke in May, so that's a different story. I took her to the map I have of her country in my room and we went over cities, municipals, provinces, and countries for as long as I could keep her away from the people calling her to wash dishes. (I mean, the kid had 4 questions for homework that all only required two words, so why can't you give her a second to finish?). I think about the lady in my house who is in love with reading my new spanish children's book. She wants to finish high school. All I can do is encourage her to keep going and ask leading questions. I think about the girl who can't read and keeps skipping school. I make deals with her that if I do her hair she has to go to school the next day.

I guess what it comes down to is the bottom up approach Peace Corps has. What I really think this country needs is a top-down refinancing of their entire school system, but what I can give them is a Peace Corps Volunteer who can only speak Spanish on good days and knows the difference between a country and a state. What good is that going to really do for anybody?

With that in mind, my service is going to be 100% relationship based. I'm going to impact in a real way max, 5 people. I think that is shooting high. One hundred or so people may remember me in 10 years, and all of Guelete will remember my name, but I have a new goal of impacting for the better 5 people and I think 3 of them should be children.

I know my service will have gain, but for now all I can see is what's in it for me. I am surrounded by people to practice the skill I want to leave with (Spanish) and unlimited time in which to study that skill. I will learn a lot about business and have time to study those skills. I will leave understanding myself and my own country a little better. I have developed time for exercise and will, in theory leave with a developed habit. So, my service will be great for me, but the hard part may end up being passing it on.

So, would you ever join the Peace Corps?

What circumstances would you need in your life to join or want to join?

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