Wisdom from the Corps; How my time in quarantine is similar to the Peace Corps

5 Apr

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
— John F. Kennedy.

 

From March 2010 – May 2012 I served in the United States Peace Corps, stationed in Jamaica for over 2 years.  Now, April 2020, 8 years later, I find myself sitting on my white couch in self-isolation, thinking back to those years and feeling totally prepared to fill each hour, which, after a decade, turns into a day, after an eternity, a week, and, after an eon, will turn into the month of April.

 

“Travel teaches us new ways to measure the quality of life”. – Rick Steves

 

I’m including links to past Peace Corps posts which I HIGHLY recommend reading because, 1. honestly, what else do you have to do, and 2. I was a way better writer back then (probably because I was reading so many books).

 

Here’s a time I almost. ate a bug.
Here’s one about being a single woman in Jamaica
Here’s my day to day.
A favorite called “Excess vs. Not quite enough.
This one’s a quick one: It was SO HOT where I lived that…
And finally, while there, I updated my resume

 

Below is an excerpt to show you just how little I actually did while in my 2012 quarantine, I mean, in the Peace Corps:

“I’ve been in Jamaica for 14 months and here’s what I have to show for it:
My community knows who I am.
I am a proud dog owner.
I can pretty much speak and understand patois.
I have re-discovered a love for reading.
I am the walrus coo-coo-ka-choo (?)”

 

TBH, there are some marked differences that make this 2020 quarantine much easier.

A.   I have a boyfriend living with me! (WAHOO!!! Peace Corps couples, hot dang did you guys have it good).
B.  I have running, hot water and air conditioning.
C.  This pandemic will not last 27 months. (RIGHT?!)
D.  Netflix, duh.

 

But, here are TEN ways my Peace Corps experience is just like my quarantine:

  1. There’s an emphasis on home cooked meals and harder to make recipes.44432_629715288489_2670673_n.jpg
    41107_628169441379_6458259_n.jpg

    Pizza with whatever ingredients us Peace Corps volunteers could find.  (I think that’s ketchup.)

     

  2. The temptation to adopt an animal(s) to keep you company.
    photo-210.jpg

    A photo of actual dogs I adopted.

     

  3. Sharpening of weapon skills for either agriculture or civil unrest.39506_628166023229_5824424_n.jpg
  4.  At home workouts with whatever water bottles, cans, and bags of sand you have available.
    24824_609341243239_5826842_n.jpg

    Dance party; party of one.

     

  5. Crossing boarders…in our own minds. Dreaming of where in the world we might have been or are planning to go.248509_743898249919_6754115_n.jpg
  6. Projects (like arts & crafts or home improvements).
    40221_628047820109_1049573_n.jpg

    Andy, Angie, and is that Valina? Repurposing old tires into garden beds.

     

  7. Grocery shopping is an activity to get excited about!!

    285316_743894168099_292108_n.jpg

    Looks like she’s going to bake  “bammy” (out of cassava root) for dinner

     

  8. Laundry
    418269_871967123869_689704171_n.jpg

    This laundry is “hand-washed”.  (Hand washed means something else in this climate.)

     

  9. Making friends as you can. In Jamaica, it was cockroaches who laughed at insecticides; you sprayed them and they got bigger.
    251681_743892735969_1042374_n.jpg

    A parade of ants.  I mean, new friends.

     

  10. Taking time to intentionally go outside and notice the sunsets.24824_609341158409_5449305_n.jpg

 

This quarantine will end; you will look BACK on this period of time and, my instincts say, due to what memory does to your brain, you’re going to remember it fondly.

430599_871861635269_1263533370_n.jpg

“Di ting sort out.”

 

 

On an unrelated and completely lighthearted note, I wanted to share some fun sports facts for a much needed diversion:  The New Zealand rugby team is called The All Blacks. The New Zealand basketball team is called The Tall Blacks (take a minute here). And, there’s one more — they have a badminton team — The Black Cocks.  That’s for real.  And, the very first article that comes up when you Google it is: “Black cocks hard for New Zealand to swallow”.

Doesn’t that country seem like it has a really good sense of humor??  Probably the best way to handle all of the pain in the world.  I mean, not necessarily for all of the people who are actually having a difficult time but definitely for those of us who are required to sit on the couch.

 

Three goals. Two years. One love.

In solidarity,
‘mi

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