Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012 10:15 PM—“The hardest job you’ll ever love?”

Sometimes I like to try to imagine what it was like to be a Peace Corps volunteer back in the day.  However, the reality of it is that I can’t possibly imagine such things because as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda in 2012 I’m often even more connected to people now than when I was living in the states.

Back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s I’m sure volunteers didn’t have cell phones or internet access.  Sometimes volunteers would be out of contact with people for weeks or maybe even months at a time.  For me, this is impossible to imagine.  Even at this very moment I’m watching a movie, downloading music and writing this blog (all at the same time, of course, because I currently have two computers).  Not many people go into Peace Corps expecting these things.  People usually picture Peace Corps volunteers living in mud huts and walking 10 miles to fetch water.

In a way this also shows the evolution of this country in general, not just volunteers.  People here went from having no phones at all to having cell phones.  Technology here isn’t quite as gradual as it is in the developed world.  It’s funny when you think about it.  Internet access is getting easier and easier yet most people here still poop in a hole.  How are things like this possible?

Some people would see this as a volunteer missing out on a “true Peace Corps experience”, but for me I see it differently.  By being able to be in contact with people, here in Uganda and back in the states, volunteers are able to collaborate on projects, socialize and have endless outlets of support that was previously unimaginable.  For me, not only can I talk to people back home like they were around the corner, but having such communication access is currently allowing me to apply for graduate school online.  Is Peace Corps really, like they say, “the hardest job you’ll ever love”?  I think not.  It’s more just “the job you’ll ever love.”

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