Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 50th Peace Corps! (And a PC Challenge for You All!)

Yesterday all of the Peace Corps Volunteers and Trainees, Peace Corps Staff, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) living in Botswana, and special guests (including the US Ambassador and members of the Botswana government) gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. It was an all-day event that included a braai, drinks, speeches, commemorative videos, games, and an impromptu dance party. It was a really fun day! And it gave us an opportunity to say hi to our volunteer friends from all corners of the country, meet the new trainees (Bots 11!!) and find out where they will be stationed (they had their site announcement the day before), hear stories from RPCVs that served across the globe, and also schmooze with some big-wigs in the area. I have to say that it was one of the more fun events I have been to in a while. I want to thank my friends and the PC Botswana staff for making the day so much fun! And, especially, I want to send a shout out to the Peace Corps for fifty years of dedicated service abroad!

"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy... but if it will not be easy it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps - who works in a foreign land - will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, a challenge has been posed to friends and family of volunteers - live like one of us for a day, a week, or a month. The "Live Like A PCV Challenge" is a project to help raise awareness about Peace Corps within the United States, while also giving those who take the challenge a small taste of volunteer life (after all, you're all a bit curious right?!). Check out these links to find out more:

If you decide to participate in the challenge and want to live as I do in Kumakwane, consider giving up some of the following things that I go without every day: no driving, water outages (for multiple days - store up!), lack of temperature control, no hot water, power outages, no fast food/restaurants, no washing machine/dryer (hand wash and hang dry clothes), limited internet access (that's slower than dial-up), no television, no use of a microwave, no checks/credit cards/debit cards (only cash), and no dishwasher (must hand wash). (Note: in my home stay, I was firmly in the highest difficulty level. My life at site includes an indoor toilet and running water, which I didn't have during PST. (Luckily for all of you that are going to accept the challenge!) But I must state that, although I have learned that both of these things are absolutely unnecessary, they have made my life quite a bit easier at site.)

Please let me know how it goes if you decide to participate!!

**Side note: I wanted to share with you all that I received one of the most amazing compliments yesterday from a trainee in Bots 11. She told me that she started reading my blog while she was in the United States going through her invitation process and that my blog "is that reason [she's] here". I couldn't be more humbled. I want to formally thank her because it was one of the nicest affirmations I have received - thank you so much.

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