Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Believe, Believe

I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression; that every day is a good one, that it’s easy being positive or optimistic all the time, or that everyone here is thrilled with my presence. Peace Corps is not an easy job sometimes. That might be due to the fact that it is a 24/7 gig. I’m doing Peace Corps when I get on a microbus that seats 15, but apparently can fit up to 28 (in my experience thus far). I’m doing Peace Corps when a 7 year old shoeless girl comes up to me on the street selling bracelets and scarves so she can get a hot meal, when she should be in a school somewhere. I’m doing Peace Corps when a man cuts in front of me at the window of a tienda (store), or when a woman pushes past me in the market to get her tomatoes. I'm doing Peace Corps when I'm too sick to go farther than 50 feet from my latrine. I'm doing Peace Corps when I'm homesick. To be honest, from time to time, you can get a little Peace Corps’d out. Some days and some moments will always stick out in a negative way. Occasionally, the difference you are trying to make can feel miniscule. I heard a story when I first came in about a couple of guys who did Peace Corps decades ago. They eventually returned to their old site to visit years later, and although by the end of their service the difference that they felt was made seemed small, they found that, with time, their impact had grown exponentially. I think the town had even named a bank or the main street after them. Peace Corps tries to prepare you for instances of low morale. To remember this lesson; that change can be a long slow process, or that after two years your difference may be immeasurable, but eventually can become something great, is really important in the day to day. I’ve been telling myself this when things get tough, and it’s been helping me keep things in perspective. I’ve really started to believe this too. If I can make a positive impact on one person, that impact can be shared with others. If I can change the tiniest of things for the better, that can create a domino effect. I may not see the difference when I leave, or even 5 to 10 years from now, but I’m sure that someday I will be able to see great changes taking place, and that my contribution helped. It’s a generational thing, I really believe that. The other thing I have learned is that, if you don’t believe this, you will drive yourself absolutely crazy... I'm doing just fine.

1 comment:

  1. My all time record so far is 35 on a 15-seater (that's counting babies, which of course don't take up a lot of space, plus a bunch of jovenes on the roof). Guatemalans may not seem to love the environment much, but they sure now how to carpool!