Some volunteers work in the capital. They have structured 9-5 jobs and offices with computers and air conditioning. Others work in schools as counselors, teachers and coaches. Some live in small villages and work in more unstructured ways. Each of us in Saint Lucia is experiencing Peace Corps in a different way.
I live in a village and work in unstructured ways. This suits my work style well. Although English is technically the second language on the island, almost everyone speaks the language. I don’t have to learn another language to survive. I have electricity, running water, even hot water. Well, most of the times I have running water.
My son, Jay, was in Honduras. He lived in a remote village. He had no electricity or in-door plumbing. His floors were dirt. He taught sustainable farming methods such as terraced techniques and diversification. He can now read, write and speak Spanish fluently.
I have a friend, although I confess I have never met her in person, who is living in Romania. She is teaching in a climate where it gets extremely cold. She speaks Romanian. At times she can be seen riding on a donkey cart.
I have another friend, again one I’ve never met, who lived in Samoa. He lived in a rural village and, among other projects, focused on helping people with weight control and to learn about good nutrition.
Although each of us will have a different experience, there is one commonality I hear from almost all Peace Corps Volunteers. The pace is slower and it feels like time moves at a snails pace. The clock ticks but never tocks. There is simply more time.
The thing I’ve noticed is that I spend my extra time examining details. If someone asked me, “Are there any benefits of being a Peace Corps Volunteer besides the obvious?” I would unequivocally say, “Yes, I have time to reflect on moments rather than days or weeks”.