Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's been over three months since I have finished my service in South Africa and returned to the United States.

This last entry is pretty intimidating to try to write. I have so many feelings about my service, and so many of them are conflicting. My blog, when I've actually gotten around to writing in it, has only scraped the very surface of my experience (with the exception of the John Cena entry- one of the most profound and penetrating pieces written about South Africa in recent history).
As I am writing this, so many memories and images are running through my head. So many faces I want to see again, so many bodies I want to hug again, so many chickens I want to kill again.

I still have a lot of confusion about what all happened down there. There's still so much for me to process.
I've brought a few things back with me: a pretty table, the feeling of being an outsider, a thirst for chicken blood, an even more warped sense of humor, a little bit of outrage and indignation, an increased threshold for ambiguity and chaos, a few pounds, a passion for social and economic justice, a lot of incredible memories and relationships, and a parasite.

I'm just kidding about the parasite.

It just seems like most people I've spoken to about my experience in Peace Corps are intrigued about that above all else; everyone seem to know at least one person or another who joined Peace Corps and came back with a parasite. I wish I could be that person for all of you, but alas, I am parasiteless.

One of the most commonly asked questions I get when my service in South Africa comes up is, "was it fun?" I have such a difficult time answering that question. I think people just want me to say yes and be done with it.
Instead, my answer is an awkward, "uhm ... I learned a lot?"

I get the impression that people want me to perpetuate their image of Peace Corps Volunteerdom: getting stoned all day while digging holes and bathing in nearby streams (where you pick up your parasite.) I didn't do any of those things. Sorry, y'all.

I was going to try to keep going with what people expect my experience to be like and how my actual experience differs and what's it has been like to try to relate my experience to people who only really half care, but that's all, like, too hard.
I've written all I can write for now. It's too overwhelming and I've still got way too much to process. Maybe in another 3 months I'll work up the courage to attempt this again?