The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Honest Truth About Challenges

On this blog, I think I have always tried to talk about the positives of my life here, even when talking about the challenges. I have written about cultural differences that can be turned into teachable moments. I have mentioned missing great events at home, like births and weddings. I said that service is difficult, but mostly for reasons related to my own personal journey--not mostly due to problems with integration or language learning. And people talk about how hard it must be to leave family, friends, and the life we know for two years. I think that is one of the main reasons why Americans respect those who have completed (or even attempted) Peace Corps service. But I have always said that I love Shoshong, I love my work and I am happy to be away from the United States. But sometimes that is just not true.

In reality, sometimes life is just hard. That is obviously true when you are living in America as well. Problems with your personal life and problems at your workplace are normal regardless of where you are living. Daily struggles are a part of the human condition. But there are times when there are challenges in one's personal life, one's family and one's work. I am lucky enough to be having one of those weeks.

Issues with life and work just take some time. As we are eager to become members in our new community, we don't necessarily know who to trust. And sometimes that means that we agree to help people who have bad reputations within the community. Navigating those situations is really difficult. Do we assist someone even if being seen with that person reflects poorly on ourselves? Sometimes we get caught up in village drama simply because we are spectacles; we stand out. And people want things to talk about. But all of these issues within our villages will hopefully pass with time.

The honest truth is that there is one challenge that makes you feel utterly helpless--serious medical issues with loved ones back home. There isn't any way to sugar coat this one. This shit is just hard. It makes us want to jump on the next fight home, even if there is plenty of hope and not all is lost. But sometimes you can't go home. And I suppose this is part of the sacrifice when you join Peace Corps--knowing that you may miss someone's last moments. But unlike most other challenges, this one never gets any easier.

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