I tell people I joined the Peace Corps to understand what it means to be poor, but that´s just part of the story. I joined the Peace Corps to figure out how to escape the guilt of having so much while other people have so little.
I still have flashbacks of water not coming out of the faucet, constantly needing to clean to stop ants or other things that became habit. Most of my sentences start with, "In Botswana..." The change is hard.
A volunteer's sexuality can also affect his or her relationship with in-country Peace Corps staff. While staff members are known to be accepting, there is still a fear of sharing something so personal that can be foreign to others.
When I walked in, it looked like a cozy tea room parlor. Several sober women amidst of sea of not-at-all-sober men whisked me upstairs and closed the sliding door. A door with panes made of paper. They guided me to the grandmother's room down the hall -- off limits to men.
Had I known half of the "adventures" that awaited me, I would have come up with a post-college Plan B. And had I done so, I would have lost out on, well, remember the slogan? "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love."
Every person's understanding of why they volunteer is different and each individual needs to find what mindset works best for him/her. You would be surprised how hard it can be for people to find peace in their altruism.
On International Volunteer Day, we must rekindle President Kennedy's founding vision. But effectively building a lasting peace and global prosperity requires new thinking, new approaches and a renewed commitment by all of us.