Posh Corps?

Before coming here, I heard about a divide in the Peace Corps, one that split us into three groups: Beach Corps, Posh Corps, and the Real Peace Corps. You know, the who-is-tougher-than-who kind of junk. As you may be able to guess, Beach Corps describes volunteers living on tropical islands (Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, etc). Posh Corps describes those of us in fairly developed countries – the ones that have running water and electricity, internet, and regular cell phone coverage. And the Real Peace Corps is those volunteers who carry their water and hike four kilometers once a week, climb some rocks, and lean way out over the precipice to get phone service.

By the fact that I’m typing this and have spoken to some of you on Skype within the past week, can you guess which one describes Jordan?

It feels a little silly, but there have been moments where I wished I’d have the “Real Peace Corps” experience. I was ready for that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about having internet. It’s just that I thought that experience was what Peace Corps was.

I haven’t been here very long, I know. But there’s a part of me that also knows Peace Corps is about a lot more than that. It’s changing, too, because the world is changing at a ridiculously fast pace. Volunteers have cell service in most countries now. Many have regular internet access, even if they still don’t have regular (or any) electricity and have to boil the water they got before they drink it. But Peace Corps isn’t about any of that.

It’s about learning a new way of being, a challenge I love. Yes, I’ve done it before, it’s nothing new, right? I’ve moved to new places and passed the test, twice. So why do I keep doing it? I don’t know. But I love retaking that test – that practical application of skills test that I keep throwing myself into like a crazy amnesiac.

Peace Corps is also about serving, and creating mutual, cross-cultural understanding, whether through weekly letters home that arrive two months late or a quick blog entry here or there between YouTube videos.

Here’s what a friend said shortly before leaving for her service in Uganda:

“Whenever someone asks if I’m nervous, I think to myself that I’m more nervous about what my life would end up like if I stay put. Yes, I have lots of people that I love here, but my life would not be full of passion and adventure here. This experience is going to make my life intensely more rich. Simply put, when I was a baby, my parents did not dream of me growing up and being too scared to try new things.” Liz, iwishiranmore.blogspot.com

I guess I just felt like putting that out there. Thanks again to everyone for being so awesome and supportive. I don’t say it often enough, but I really do appreciate it.

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2 Responses

  1. I love you, baby. I don’t need to sign this one.

  2. I’m happy you are doing exactly what you want. The experience is invaluable and will serve you the rest of your life. I’m really sorry it’s snowing. I read in the paper that the middle east is getting more snow, and it’s colder than it has been in many years. Part of the changing climate patterns.

    Someday I hope you’ll write about your experiences and your adaptation to them. You write very well. Love you, Mema

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