It’s been a long, long, long time since I published a blog post, but I’m finally ready to get back in the game to keep you all updated on my last few months here in Perú with the Peace Corps. Enjoy this brief update, and the blog posts to come in the next few weeks.
Now that I am the PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader) for my region here in Perú, my life and my lifestyle have changed significantly since completing my first two years of service in Yuracoto/Caraz. This newfound independence has come with many positive changes, but also with some negative ones. As the quote goes, “you never know what you got til it’s gone”.
I enjoy many perks of my new lifestyle: having my own, slightly larger personal space, having hot water, having control of what I eat day-in and day-out, and having regular internet access. Nearly anything I could want is available at my fingertips now. However, life is a game of give-and-take, and while I enjoy many aspects of my new life, there are also some downsides. I love being able to cook for myself, but this also means I have to plan out my meals and take the time to prepare/cook them, rather than just wake up to food as was the case when I lived with my host family. Additionally, while I have regular Internet access and hot water, I no longer have a host family nor a community to which I feel strongly connected. I miss seeing my host family every day, I miss knowing all of my neighbors, I miss the conversations we would have during the day, I miss visiting my students at my schools, and I miss being constantly invited to play soccer and volleyball. It’s been weeks since I’ve played either, mainly because it is hard to meet people to regularly play with living in a city as large as Huaráz.
Honestly, while it is nice having hot water and internet, I think I would willingly give them up to return to the strong feeling of community I had during my first two years of service in Caraz/Yuracoto. When I signed on for the third year, I intellectually understood that it would be a lonelier livelihood than what I had experienced before, but I didn’t really emotionally understand it until I started it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with my decision to stay a 3rd year with the Peace Corps. I love my role supporting my fellow Volunteers, I love being involved in the Site Identification process for future Volunteers, and I absolutely love my work with SERNANP – Parque Nacional Huascarán. However, it is a change, and after several months, it is a change that I am finally getting accustomed to. In a way, I think this greater independence and responsibility I’ve enjoyed so far during my 3rd year will help make my eventual transition back to the U.S. much easier than if I had just returned home directly after completing my service in Caraz.
So, I’m about 8.5 months into my 13-month extension, and if all goes well, I should finally be finishing my Peace Corps service here in Perú around August 24th. However, I’m hoping to be able to explore a bit more of Perú and South America before making my return to U.S. soil after service since I haven’t traveled much during my service. If I’ve learned one thing along this journey so far, it is that people and relationships are far more important than things. A person can learn to live without certain amenities, but it is hard to live without meaningful, human contact and valuable relationships.
Until next time,