People seemed so concerned that I was away from the blog for so long! Really, blogger was just having maintenance every time I needed to get on, and it was rather frustrating, but it was another part of my nice vacation.
This month has been a little odd for those of us in the Peace Corps. There was a seven page report about the Peace Corps in the Dayton Daily News about the work we volunteers do and the organization as a whole. It was not a very positive article and set off a very large debate about the safety, and usefulness, of volunteers. While some of the information made me smack my forehead and mutter “peace corps” as if it were an epithet, some of it was just contrived or documented whining. On the one hand there is no excuse for Peace Corps to cover up dangerous situations or put volunteers in danger, but seeing on volunteer complain that it was hard to blend in in the Ukraine, I have to wonder about the subjects being interviewed. After all, if you are white, all you have to do is look nice and keep your mouth shut to blend in there. If you’re not, they don’t believe you’re rich, so it’s not to worry. I’m able to blend in much the same way and no one ever thinks I’m American unless 1. I’m dressed like one or 2. I open my mouth. And I live in Uzbekistan.
I realize that I’m spoiled. I have a pretty nice apartment, fulfilling work and I don’t have to walk around in a state of heightened paranoia. My country is friendly to Americans and I can say that, while I don’t always like the other volunteers, I respect them because they are doing tons of things to help this country. Even if the article does point out some things that are bad about the Peace Corps, it doesn’t make me feel any less than proud at the work I am doing here as a volunteer.