Posted by: pckatie | October 19, 2010

A Word On Why

Let me start by saying, before you get your hopes up for a Peace Corps related update, don’t.  Sorry to burst your bubble (I know you have been holding your breath and hanging on my every word for some new info) but I don’t have anything quite yet.  In my interview my recruiter said I would hear from him within about a week and since it has now been two I decided to email him yesterday to ask if I should be doing anything to keep my application competitive, prepare for the next step, etc. etc. (Basically what I was implying is “IM STILL ALIVE DON”T FORGET ABOUT ME!”)  So I will update soon with his response.

The reason I am posting is because I have been doing some blog surfing (a favorite passtime..check out for hours upon hours of blog reading at your fingertips) and I came across a post that really got me thinking.  Peace Corps hopefully Veronica posted a blog entry a few days ago titled “The Reason“.  I would encourage you to read it, but in case you can’t manage to tear yourself away from my blog I will summarize.  Basically she said that every time someone asks her why she is joining the Peace Corps she feels like her answer is not satisfactory to either herself or the person asking.  Of course everyone’s reason includes something about wanting to help others, but I think many of us get the feeling that response is somewhat cliché (myself included).  In my own attempts to answer the question of why or to list my reasons (on my blog, to my recruiter, to friends and family, and even in my own head) I always get the feeling that it just can’t be put into words.  One applicant commented that she has resolved to saying “It’s just something I have to do”.   I think many people feel the need to justify what they are choosing to do because it is considered somewhat of an alternative path.  I think its important to keep in mind that joining the Peace Corps is certainly not a traditional part of most peoples life, and for many people it is far from anything they would ever consider doing.  But that does not mean it isn’t the exact right choice for you.  Explaining your reasoning should not be thought of as a justification of a choice, but as a way to share a life changing experience you are hoping to have the opportunity to partake in.

As I progress in my Peace Corps journey I can only imagine I will be confronted with this situation more often and I am considering how I should handle it.  In keeping with the Peace Corps third goal, it is important to share our Peace Corps experiences and I personally think it is important to spread the word about the Peace Corps as an organization as well.  I think that the feeling of not adequately expressing our reasons for joining will be repeated in a similar fashion through out our service and after we return.  I would imagine it is very difficult for a returned volunteer to share their experience and feel that they have given an accurate and complete portrayal of their country of service, the people they encountered, relationships they built, how they changed as a person, the difference they made, hardships they endured, and successes they achieved.  Similarly, how can we as prospective volunteers sum up our reasons for making such a life altering decision in mere words?  I think of my reason for joining the Peace Corps as more of a feeling, state of being, or a calling that I rationalized with words and that is something you just can’t verbalize to someone.  However, in keeping with that third goal, I think we have a responsibility as volunteers (future, current, and returned) to share our feelings, experiences, and thoughts with others.  I think it important that we do our best in sharing our reasons with people, and instead of focusing on the things we left out or what we weren’t able to get across, we should focus on the little piece of a big thing that we did share.  Just like volunteering, the small things sometimes count more than the big ones. 

Here is a quote that helped me to organize my thoughts on this:

“Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.”

Thats all for now, paz y amor.


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