With the possibly of placement around the bend, my friends and family are starting to ask me a bunch of questions about my motives for the peace corps. Here are some of the most common questions I have been getting, I'll add more as I remember them.
Q: Wait your joining the peace corps?
A: Well honestly I don't have ONE reason for going... its a lot of them. At the core I'd have to say I want to work abroad, I want to help people, and I want experience in my field. I also watched a discovery channel special when I was 12 on world AIDS day that completely changed my direction in life, so blame them for turning me into a dirty idealistic hippy.
Q:Do you really think you can make any difference?
A: I don't have any delusions of completely changing a country, nor do I want to. My hope is that I can help people establish themselves, I just wanna be an extra set of hands for the work.
Q: That seems a bit crazy... why aren't you working on your career or thinking about settling down?
A: Actually joining the peace corps is very beneficial to my career, I'd doing community development which will give me extensive experience in my field. There are also benefits for grad school afterwords and living in another culture is what I was trained to do with my Anthropology degree. As for settling down, I'm 22 whats wrong with you?
Q: Okay fine, but why do you have to go across the world to volunteer why not something in the US?
A: As I said before I WANT to go to another country. The idea of experiencing another culture like that is the most exciting thing to me. I have a travel bug in me and staying in one place doesn't suit me, after the peace corps I will most likely do something else like it. And I have spent my whole life volunteering in the US already.
Q: Do you hate America? (I am not making up these questions)
A: Honestly sometimes during election season... but no. Its my home but I want to experience other cultures. Also the Peace Corps is a government program, its actually very patriotic in my mind to want to share American culture.
Q: How long will you be gone?
A: 27 months, 3 months for training and 24 of actual work.
Q: So when are you leaving?
A: I am leaving January 31st for my staging, a few days later I will on a plane to Africa for my training.
Q: Your gonna get internet and such right?
A: Um... most likely not. In the capitol I can find something but it really depends. Each site is different, some people have running water and WIFI, some live in huts with no running water.
Q: Ewww no running water?
A: I'll admit that part makes me sad but it will be like camping, just need to get used to it.
Q: Wait aren't you a vegetarian how is that gonna work?
A: I have already decided that if need be I will return to eating meat. I know shocking after a decade of no meat, but I want to experience a culture to its fullest and I don't want to get sick in country from random meat. When i know what country I'm going to I will start back on meat a little bit to see how my body handles it. When I return from the peace corps I'll go back to not eating meat.
Updated answer: Zambia is actually a fairly vegetarian country. Meat isn't often available at sites the staple food of people in Zambia is Nashima which is a ground up corn maize that is eaten with relishes of vegetables and such.
Q:What will you be doing there?
A. I am part of the RED (Rural Community Education) project as a community education specialist. I will be working with teachers in Zambia doing a variety of things. I will most likely be co-teaching, teaching English, helping with HIV and AIDS education and working with young girls to promote life skills and such.
Q:Can you come home during the two years?
A. This one is a bit complicated. Yes I can technically come visit but it is on my own money and it can only been after my training, and only for the amount of vacation days I have. To be honest I won't be making many trips back to the US. But you are welcome to visit me! After training of course...
Q: How will we get in contact with you?
A. This one I'm still working on... mail is VERY slow in Zambia - like months to get to me slow. Internet isn't very common and calls to the US can be up to 3$ a minute. From what I understand, when i buy an African cell phone texting me is the cheapest and most effective means of contact and E-mail wont be quick but it WILL be quicker then mail.
Q: Are you scared?
A. Yes and no. I'm nervous bout moving to a new country simply because that is a new experience am I scared to moving to Zambia itself? NO! I am also so excited, I have wanting this for yes and doing this is the most full-filling feeling. I just hope I can do the best job possible.
That is all I can think of for now, I'll add more as I get them.