Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peace Corps Turns 50!

Greetings All!

It's been almost two months since a post yet I'm on my computer every day.  Spring has sprung here...sort of.  Sounds like we've entered what's called mud season in the mountains.  Lots of exposed ice and well, mud.  That's not to say the snow is done but the winds are significantly warmer.  Much has been happening which is why I haven't been blogging.  I've been DOing :)

PC Prop at Colorado Mtn College talk
 Peace Corps turned 50 this year and in my near obsessive need to "spread the good word" I tried to get some PC love where I could.  Turns out there is quite a community, mostly at Colorado Mtn Collage where I tutor.  No one from West Africa, lots from Central and South America, and one incredible woman who served 5 years in Botswana and then a year as staff in Bulgaria!  She's now an entrepreneurship professor and is interested in the company Dlight Designs, started by the first volunteer in my village in Benin.  Love the less than 6-levels of separation!

delicious PC Potluck

Peace Corps has been sending out copious amounts of emails saying returned volunteers need to get together, especially in its 50th year, and celebrate what we've done and talk about what remains to do (a TON!)  I mostly needed these get togethers for some solidarity.  Haven't had a fix in a while and I finally felt like I had enough oxygen once I realized how many of us were in the community.  A few more faces to say hello to at the coffee shop is always a nice thing.  After a small presentation at the local college, we got together for a potluck.  Enchiladas, fruit salad (b/c that's what I always craved in Benin), empanadas and good drink for all.  It was a great way to meet some friends and learn about their experiences.  I must say, I felt a bit like a weeney when a few folks recounted tales of drug lords bursting into their homes because they were taking over that village, or of going on a 10 day excursion in the Amazon, with nothing but booze and a few roots to chew on.  It's clear there have been many changes to PC over the years, and many more that need to happen but I think the spirit of volunteers has remained.  As a finale to these events, I received a call on my cell yesterday from a friend back in Guinarourou.  We haven't spoken since I got in the taxi to close my service but it was like we never skipped a beat.  He is shocked we don't have any African yams (ignames) over here and I can't imagine I ever lived in the equatorial heat as I gazed out the window on a white white landscape and blustery 20-degree (F) winds.  Who knows how much that will cost on my phone but with lots of laughter and some Bariba exchanged, it's good to know there's still a little bit of me over there and a lot of "over there" left in my heart...