I never know how people will react to things. I am happy to report that during the last year while we have been in the application process, whenever we told people that we were joining the Peace Corps, the response has been universally positive. Almost as soon as the words come out of our mouth, “… we are joining the Peace Corps, and we will be moving to Botswana for two years…”, the listener invariably gets this funny look on their face that turns into a smile then they start saying very nice things.
It doesn’t seem to matter if the person is Republican, Democrat, male, female, young, old, rich or poor. Everyone is on board! The only exceptions to this can be counted on one hand, these are the friends or family who only had reservations because it meant we would be gone from their lives and they would miss us. Even they eventually got used to the idea and are completely on board now.
The subject of joining the Peace Corps comes up quite naturally in conversation, sometimes with complete strangers. People wonder why you sold your house, or why you moved in with your mother-in-law, or why you are quitting your job, or storing your furniture, etc, etc., and you tell them the reason. Upon hearing the news, everyone we tell is enthusiastic, interested and curious. Some are envious and wish they had done it when they were younger. Some, who have good hearts about helping people, see it as a noble act and think highly of us for joining. Everyone wishes us well and wants to hear how it goes (which is one reason for this blog).
Lately, Tish has been having to tell her patients she will not be at the practice the next time they come for a visit. When they ask why, she usually says that she is moving. If they ask where, then she will go ahead and tell them. Several times a day the cat comes out of the bag and the reaction is always positive. One elderly patient who was from Ghana heard the news and asked Tish all about it and then, after asking Tish’s permission, took her hand, closed his eyes and prayed that we would have a safe journey.
Just today, Tish saw a patient who was born in the African country of Eritrea which is on the Red Sea and borders Sudan and Ethiopia. When Tish told him we were joining the Peace Corps he beamed and told her that when he was in middle school it was Peace Corps volunteers who taught him English.
As polarized and divided as this country is on so many issues, it is nice to find something that everyone can get behind.
We leave in four months. The waiting is hard, but this is one positive part of the waiting… we get those wonderful moments when we share what our plans are with people and feel their enthusiasm and happiness for us.