When I think back to the months leading up to my Peace Corps service, I can still clearly remember how concerned I was about my future work. I was passionate about business, helping people, Spanish, and travel and had asked my recruiter to find me a placement where I could use all of those skills and hobbies.
One of the most frequent questions I get is about my living conditions as a Peace Corps volunteer. Despite the fact that more and more volunteers are living in houses or apartments in cities or towns with complete amenities (refrigerators! wifi!) my house leans more towards the stereotypical house in the jungle side of things.
I'm very lucky to have a huge, awesome house and an awesome landlord. Though rent is valued at $25 per month, I am instead putting that money towards building a bathroom and improving the house. My house is in the center of town within 5 minutes of the school, our community pavilion, a small store, and 5 other homes.
Since one of the biggest aspects of my job as a Peace Corps volunteer is teaching basic business skills and encouraging small scale entrepreneurship, I'm always on the hunt for fun or interesting ways to get villagers interested and involved. Though sometimes I put a lot of thought into how I'm going to present certain topics, other times it's just gotta happen organically.
As those who know me know, I love to stay busy. For example, my last semester at Saint Vincent College I had a full course load of 19 credits, an internship with Clelian Heights School for exceptional children, a part-time job with the admissions department, was President of Women in Business, and a member of a handful of other clubs and organizations. I always had something to do and I loved it.
After I started blogging about my Peace Corps experience, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people who are considering joining the Peace Corps, all of which I’m more than happy to answer. However, while I love sharing all of my inspiring and happy moments, I think it’s really important to share the tough times too. If you’re thinking about becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, it’s best to be prepared!
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “So, what do you do?” Given that there are over 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in the world and none of us follow the same schedule or exact job description, I’d say that’s a pretty valid question.
During our last goodbyes in June of this past year, my dad tearfully hugged me and promised to visit me in Panama for Christmas. It was that very visit that gave me something to look forward to and got me through some of my roughest moments down here.
Looking for a fun way to explore the neighboring islands, my dad and I decided to spend our last day in Bocas del Toro on a snorkeling trip. Though I could tell dad was a little hesitant about this last minute adventure, I assured him he´d be glad he did. And wouldn´t you know it, I was right!