Friday, April 9, 2010

Ignorance is bliss my ass...

Almost three years ago I made a decision that I hoped would change my life.  I decided that joining the Peace Corps would be right for me.  I based this decision on a plethora of information, most of which still holds true today.  First and foremost, I wanted more opportunities to travel.  I wanted to experience something different from my pampered life here in the states; grasping for something real in a world full of fake.  I believed that reality must be most attainable on an empty stomach.  In a way I was right -- I doubt anyone has ever fretted over who America's next top model is going to be while at the same time deciding which of their children will have to go without food for the day.  I have always been attempting to escape my own hypocrisy.  However, in my travels I have become increasingly aware of the same hypocrisy and, frankly, silliness within all cultures.  If anything I have learned to see people more as the complex creatures we are, as opposed to the simple rational beings we wish to believe... but I digress...

My undergraduate studies in human rights and political science stripped me of my ignorance about many of the tragic issues in the world (everything from civil rights abuses to crimes against humanity).  I had the amazing opportunity to work with the Southern Ute Community Actions Program right out of college.  It was there that I discovered the real value of helping others.  I worked with at-risk youth, kids who had dropped out of high school and were having trouble finding jobs.  A few attained GEDs, a few kept down a job, and a few have found themselves in a more stable living environment than before the program.  I have never felt like I have been doing more meaningful work in my life.  It was easy for me to make the decision to go to graduate school for development after that.  I was lucky enough to find a program that actually included Peace Corps services as part of that degree.

After nearly two years of waiting, having perfected the art of giving an excuse to those who asked "so, where are you headed?", I can finally answer that question.  I am headed to PERU!  I can't quite describe how excited I am about my assignment.  I have wanted to go to Peru ever since I first saw a documentary about Machu Picchu on the travel channel.  It was bumped up to first on my travel priority list after I visited Guatemala and saw the giant temples of the ancient Mayan's.  It only seemed natural to go to Peru next.  Not only will I be going to my first choice but I will be working with youth.  Needless to say, the wait was well worth it.  I leave June 10th, 2010.  I will not know where in Peru and exactly what kind of youth development until I have already been there for three months of training.

The wait was hell.  I had begun to think I might never leave for an assignment.  Now that I am only two months away I have so much to do I can hardly keep my sanity.  Every time I finish something on my to-do list I find three more things sprout up in its place.  I hope to see everyone before I leave for 27 months.

I will keep a regular blog but cannot be sure of my access to internet so the posts might be as long as one month apart.  I will post photos here and on my flicker account.  If I can get over my irrational hatred of facebook, you might even find posts and photos there... but it's not likely ;)  If internet access ends up being too big of a problem I will just have to keep regular mail with a lot of you... which I am sure I will need with 27 months abroad.

Wish me luck!