I landed at Casablanca airport one year ago today. It has been the longest and shortest year of my life.
One year without seeing my brothers. One year without driving. Excepting 12 days of vacation, one year without air conditioning or heating. One year of washing clothes by hand, dishes by hand, everything by hand. One year on a budget of less than $3000. One year without squash, without tennis, without bowling, without frisbee, without weights. One year with no bed frame. One year with no sit-down toilet. One year without bourbon. Unquestionably, it's been hard.
And there are benefits- avocados cost a dollar a kilo. I've met dozens of other volunteers from radically different backgrounds who are all amazing. I can spend 20 hours a day with Krista. I have all the time in the world. I make my own schedule. I can read as much as I like. I've learned a new language. I've learned some patience, and I've gained the ability to have a conversation with an illiterate goatherd without feeling awkward about it.
Peace Corps volunteers describe their time as 'my service'. It is service- you give up most of yourself, the people you love, and the objects you enjoy for the small, ethereal benefit of an uncaring nation and world. No volunteer needs to be reminded of this and the internet has made it even harder to forget. But I am happy to be here.
Besides the occasional food-borne illness, I feel good. I feel good about the work I do. I feel proud of the tiny impact I have. I feel good about the person I am becoming, and the values I'm developing. It takes practice. I'll skip the lecture on Aristotelian ethics. At this point, I believe there is no better way to spend my time than what I'm doing now, in a small city in Morocco. Now I'll stop with the self-aggrandizement.
When I applied to Peace Corps, I figured it would be a good option to take, if I didn't have a job that I would rather do. I wouldn't quite say it was my first choice at the time. But one year in, I am glad that I made that choice.
I have more than a year left in my service. And somehow, I can both dread and be grateful for it.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, nor any other governmental or non-governmental organization.
Nor is anything written here necessarily drawn from my own views, opinions, and observations. Please consider all postings and pictures complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality. For legal purposes, please additionally regard the author as utterly imaginary.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Nor is anything written here necessarily my own views, opinions, or observations. Please consider all pictures and texts here to be complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality, this one or any other. For legal purposes, please additionally consider the author to be utterly imaginary.