Peace Corps Service can be divided into 4 distinct sections. Pre-Service [all the time before you actually leave], Pre-Service Training [aka Peace Corps’ boot camp], the actual Service, and COS + Post COS.
From February 2018 until June 2020 I’ll be serving in the Peace Corps on the island of Madagascar. However, I began my application in September 2016. These posts are those months leading up to departure. Thanks to THE SICKNESS, I did not depart for Madagascar as scheduled. My country of service has changed and now I am a Maternal-Child Health Volunteer in Rwanda serving from June 2018 to August 2020.
Interested in life in the gray zone: the time from application to departure.
Everyone has his or her own reasons for joining the Peace Corps and I’m no different. For some, it’s a chance to delay adult responsibilities. For others, it’s a chance to have an adventure, still others have the ‘save the world’ mentality. Some want the benefits life after the Peace Corps offers. If I’m being honest, my reasons are probably a bit of all of them. Although firmly, ensconced in adulthood by age and career, I still don’t see myself as a ‘real adult’ yet. I crave adventure and I have altruistic tendencies. The post-service benefits are pretty exciting too.
I always thought I was a patient, go-with-the-flow type individual but getting into the Peace Corps requires a PhD in patience. Even with the ‘new, updated’ process’, it still took me just under a year from the time I submitted my first application until my acceptance.
And it’s taken nearly two years from when I first submitted my application in September 2016 [first for Lesotho, September 2017-December 2019, then for Madagascar February 2018-June 2020, and finally Rwanda June 2018-August 2020.] First up, an interview. Oh how I hate interviews. I’ve stayed at jobs much longer than was healthy just to avoid having to interview for a new one. Although like much in life, it gets easier with practice.
- The waiting. OMG… the waiting. Then Acceptance.
- Pre-Clearance is no joke.
- More Waiting. And vacillating. And more waiting.
- Ha, ha, the joke is on you
- More waiting.
- I’m finally leaving.
- What’s in my bags [see Madagascar version + Rwanda version. Spoiler alert: they are quite different]
- Pre-Service Training.
- Home. For the next couple of years.
- Finally. A real Peace Corps Volunteer.
Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer
Just what is Community Entry?
And this thing called Community Familiarization Exercises?
Umuganda you say?