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karate_chick1 in peacecorpsfolks

Living in a isolated area

Hi guys!

I have a question. In the Peace Corps application it asks me about if I am prepared to serve in a site that is isolated and/or a significant distance from other volunteers. While I understand that sometimes Peace Corps volunteers are in isolated areas, I would really love to be placed in an area with other Peace Corps volunteers. Has anyone had experience with this? Do you have any advice?



It could definitely be lonely, don't get me wrong. Being in the village environment really forced me to form different types of relationships than I did in the U.S. The people I spent the most time with were my neighbor kids (ages 5, 10 and 11), a few teachers who were somewhat close to my age (I was in my mid-20s, they were all in their mid-to-late 30s, most were married and all had multiple children), and my host family (which consisted of my host brother, 14, host father, 47, and grandmother, 75). The reason I had no friends my own age is because the people my age who were in the village were there because they had nowhere else to go, limited education, no jobs, and probable alcohol abuse issues. (Or if they were women, they faced some or all of these issues with a handful of kids in tow.) I don't mean to suggest that they were/are inherently bad people, but for the most part the village 20-somethings weren't they types of people who I wished to count among my close friends. I wish that hadn't been the case, but it was.

So yeah, it was isolating to not have people who shared my life experiences, both in terms of sharing experiences like college and dating and sharing my American culture specifically, but I didn't feel isolated, if that makes any sense. If I got tired of being by myself, all I had to do was walk out the front door and I'd be likely to bump into someone who would be happy to sit and chat. I think this is really a part of the community integration process that they don't talk about, but that most (if not all) Volunteers go through, that period where you realize that there are so many more things that you have to adjust your perspective on, not just getting used to speaking the local language or eating the local foods or trying your hand at local activities (goat slaughtering, anyone?), but also how you relate to other people and the creative ways you can find common ground to build relationships. I absolutely related differently to my PCV friends than I did to my local, village friends, but I don't think it would be fair to say that one type of relationship was better than the other - they were just different.
These are some great observations!