My First Impressions!

First Impressions in the Peace Corps

It is now over six weeks here in the Peace Corps of Guatemala. We are technically still in training and are not yet volunteers as we have only been in training classes. But, I wanted to jot down my initial impressions and thoughts and look back on it when I complete my two years of service here.

First, I came into it with an open mind as I knew that everyone who had gone through the PC experience comes out of it with very different reactions. In my travels I have met many volunteers in small villages and read a novel written by a PC volunteer in China, so I have a pretty good idea when I finally applied earlier this year. During the interview for my application, I was asked what region of the world I would like to be sent. I was stumped by the question, as I was really mentally prepared to accept any place and any condition that I was assigned. After all, this is the PC and I was willing to face any challenges that I was dealt. This is all part of the adventure that I am seeking -- the unknown. Some of the questions in the interview were “do you have any problems with squat toilets?” and “do you have problems being away from your family and friends for a prolonged time?” That struck me as hilarious but also reinforced the mental preparation that I needed. But, I was forced to make a decision as it was part of the necessary information for them to place me. So I asked for Latin America. Other regions I really did not have a preference, just don’t send me anywhere cold! I love Latin American culture, the openness, the culture, the nature, the music, the lifestyle, the food, and on and on. So when I got nominated for Latin America, I was ecstatic as I was told that I would not get it since I did not have any Spanish language skills. And then I got Guatemala, a place that I have visited twice on my own in the past, so I was even happier..