Host Country: Peace Corps

The cross-cultural exchange.  The foreign sea of oddity.  The languages, late nights, loneliness, thrills, aches and pure, heartwrenching love we all felt.  Those intensified emotions that only Peace Corps volunteers recognize in one another.  Give it a day, a week, a year...eventually, we know.  We all know.  We are a one of a kind community of wanderers.  A society of individuals built on the mutual understanding that the world can and will change if a few dedicated persons are willing to open their hearts and minds to the kindness of strangers.  

We have our own talk; part English, part host country, part PC acronym.  We have our own dress;  a skirt from the States, a tee from the market, plastic sandles from our host families.  We have our walk; learning how to become confident in our insecurities of the unknown.  Walking with our backpacks and smelly socks. Our language, dress, mannerisms are unlike that of our host countries nor our mother countries.  After a mere few months, we are a blend of cultures and attitudes and have adapted to become global citizens trying to do just a small bit of good in the world.  No matter what country you're in, how long you stay, or the language you speak, you are neither here nor there...but living in a community of people in the inbetween.

For all that it is worth, I am a proud member of this 'neither here nor there' society and would not take back a second of the ride Peace Corps orientation did little to prepare me for.  I still get the chillls when I hear those commercials (we all know the ones) and look back at pictures with a mixed sense of loss and love.  But, wherever I go, I know that I have a place.  From country to country or road to road, if I meet another volunteer, I know we are a part of that global community of understanding and respect.  For the American, the Moroccan and the global citizen that I have become, I am, first and foremost a PCV.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.