Archive | October, 2013

Brand New Me

25 Oct

The Deepest Calling

21 Oct

This poem was passed on to me a few months ago by my good friend Mandy. There are certain lines that, after having read them for the umpteenth time, still sink in my chest and remind me of the privilege and the history that comes with this experience. As I say good-bye to some of my closest friends that are finishing their 2-year commitment and realize I, too, am in the single-digit “months left” category, the phrase little do you know, you are in it for life, is taking on a whole new meaning.

To all the RPCVS, current and future volunteers, and anyone associated with the mission of promoting world peace and friendship–enjoy.

50 years of Peace Corps: A Message for Soon-to-be Volunteers

Peace Corps is a twenty-seven-month-long-commitment,

Little do you know, you are in it for life.It all starts with that spark from someone, “Uncle Dave served in Peace Corps and he loved it”, “Do you know they work in Thailand?” or the best and the most simple, “You would be great in the Peace Corps.”

The highest compliment, the deepest calling.

And then the paper trail begins, blazing a path through a dense bureaucratic network of uploaded dreams and poorly stated ambitions.

We trace every spark believing that it will one day lead to a full fire of intention.

Really, it’s your first endurance test, and it is not a smooth process-believe me.

When volunteers start, their minds are wrapped around 1,000 different words for help, ..empower, assist, aid, facilitate, uplift,
yet no idea how to use them in a sentence.  Let alone in life.Yes, we open borders, but more importantly, minds and hearts.
Winning them, earning them with the skills of our training and the purity of our efforts.
This is something those who are new to the family realize, and eventually, eventually, 9-12 months eventually..
You will go forth from this time, and this place, toting all that you can carry of your past life and loved ones.

And then,
you serve.

Never, will you feel more alive – it will surprise you.It is a progression of connection.
at first, you are in your head and it’s
American, meets other.
Then you get more grounded, and
volunteer, meets villager or teacher, meets student.
And then, if you are lucky, the simplicity settles in, and it’s
human meets human,
heart to heart.

It’s all right there.  It’s tucked into the humble corners of each day.
Two years- will fly by.
Watch carefully or you might miss it.
Blink twice,
and it’s gone..

And then,
you will leave those same coveted, carefully packed objects turned artifacts in the fault lines of all your cultural earthquakes.

And then,
you come back.

You are returned volunteers, never former, and you try to trace the patterns of home and you stumble, and get dizzy, and people from the place you once knew ask…

How was Malawi?  Ecuador?  Mauritania?  Poland?
How was Nicaragua?  Mali?  Panama?  Vanuatu?  Romania?  How was Tanzania?
And what did you do there?

and you will pause.

I changed the world.
I changed myself.

It’s been 50 years of sweat and smiles, moments and memories, adventure and admiration, respect and realization
and waiting and waiting and waiting,

It’s been 50 years of imagination and inspiration.

Fifty years on paper,
but we are a part of so much more.
We bring hope to the forgotten corners of the world,
and find peace at our core.

Meleia Egger
RPCV Malawi 2008-2010

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