Once the paperwork came to a pause and the hustle and bustle of life filled my attention again, I started to forget that I’d just applied for the Peace Corps. What can I say – sometimes reality gets in the way of reality. And besides, I have been trying desperately not to let my heart get too set on any one location, or even on being invited to join the Peace Corps at all, as none of that is guaranteed.
That’s why today when I checked my email much later in the day than I usually do, my heart skipped a beat when I saw that I had an email from a Peace Corps recruiter. I swear, the touch screen on my smartphone picks the craziest times to be unresponsive, but hey, I won’t have to deal with that in a third world country will I? I finally opened the email to this:
The email of course went on, but all I really saw was that first paragraph, and those bolded words, jumping out of the page at me.
Rwanda? That was about as far out of left field as possible. I didn’t see that coming. I guess when I selected as my third option “place me where I’m needed” that I should have understood this was a possibility, but I didn’t let my mind wander all that much.
I know from the over-ambitious reading I’ve done in the past couple of months that the place you initially interview for and the place you end up serving are not always the same, but it definitely could be. Rwanda. Am I going to Rwanda?
I was freaking out on a number of levels – excitement, surprise, shock, a little bit of worry, a little bit of questioning myself, and a lot of the-only-thing-I-know-about-Rwanda-is-Hotel Rwanda. I immediately texted my sister, who also freaked out. She told her husband, who freaked out, albeit in a much calmer fashion. After work I told my dad. He reacted the exact way I told my sister he’d react: Oh my God. You’ve gotta be kidding me. You’re not really thinking about going there…? You’d have to be absolutely out of your mind!
Ah, how I relish his words of encouragement. Even thought I knew he’d say just those things, I still felt the wind leave my sails a bit. I mean, I get why he reacted this way, and it’s not like I have a particular desire to be in Rwanda, but if that’s the place I’m offered, I don’t think I can allow myself to say no.
My brother’s response was to say that at my size, the jungle animals would look at me and say to each other, yes, definitely food.
I know, I’m getting ahead of myself, a LOT. This email is to set up an interview. There’s no guarantee they’ll like me for the job. There’s no guarantee for a placement at all. And even if I get placed there’s no guarantee that I’ll still be headed for Rwanda. That isn’t the point. I’m excited because for the first time in my life, or at least in a hell of a long time, I’ve taken steps towards something I truly have passion for, and I haven’t (yet) run into a brick wall. I mean, they must have liked my CV/resume and PC Motivation Statement and qualifications enough to contact me for the interview, right? Right?
So I’m going to schedule the interview. We’ll just see where it goes from there.
The thought that’s most insane in my head right now (besides the prospect of 27 months without toilets, running water, or electricity) is really just the matter of time. I could be leaving the beginning of September of 2015, and I wouldn’t be back in my home country until at earliest December of 2017. Wow. The kid my sister’s about to have in June will be two and a half years old.
I guess there’s something to think about.