When we were in the application process I asked our recruiter how many people do not complete their two years of service. He said about 30%, and this surprised me, it seemed high. He went on to explain that it could be for many reasons including family problems back home, medical problems, or just not liking Peace Corps. I also heard that those leaving because they can’t adjust usually leave in the first 2 months after you move to your site – this I find easy to believe.
We started our Peace Corps trainee experience in Philadelphia, with a total of 40 trainees. We have lost eight trainees so far.
- We lost our first one two days later, when TJ, who traveled to New York with us, did not board the plane for Africa. He had some kind of issue at home, and just couldn’t do it.
- About a week into training, Easton, a young man from Philadelphia announced that he was returning because his mother had suffered a stroke and needed him.
- Sara, decided to return a few weeks after that. She had decided the Peace Corps just wasn’t for her
- Michelle left just a few days before swearing in. Her mother had a medical emergency and could no longer live alone so Michelle had to return.
- Karen left recently. I heard that at her site she was riding in a car that went out of control at a high rate of speed, spun around, flipped over, and landed in a ditch. The car did not have seat belts. Miraculously she was not seriously injured. She was shaken enough that she wanted to be home with her family.
- At about the same time, Jim and Jean left. They were the only other married couple in our group. They are leaving because they miss their family and the US more than they thought they would.
- The most recent to early terminate was Tracy. Tracy was one of very few who are married but are serving without their spouse. Tracy had always wanted to join the Peace Corps, and her husband couldn’t so she tried it alone. She tried it for three months before calling it quits. I don’t know how she made it that long. I couldn’t do it without Tish. Tracy’s departure hurts the most because we felt closer to her. We will miss her big smile and laugh and great personality.
So we have lost 8 of 40 so far. 20% seems kind of high since we have been in country for a little over three months, but we will see. Happily we are not on the list.
Everyone has their own reasons, and I respect the decisions of each person and wish them the very best.