Articles

A PCV’s Job Description

Angela Aguilar, 129 TCCS

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is a unique job, every day brings a new challenge. I
must admit I’m stumbling through it all. Making my way past the struggles, asking
myself every day, do I want this? This job is not for the faint of heart. Let me break it
down for you.

A Peace Corps Thailand Job Description should read:

Qualifications

  • Being okay with a lot of alone time
  • At the same time, being asked to walk in parades, go to temple, and do a lot of
    things within your community
  • Being poked, prodded and commented on your appearance
  • Enjoying trying new things when it comes to foods (things you can’t identify
    or don’t know the English word for)
  • Accepting a new culture fully and adjusting your actions to meet it’s
    standards (ex: no shorts, cover your shoulders, temple visits, acknowledging
    the elders, no pointing your feet, eating a lot of rice with every meal)
  • Giving up on breakfast foods (bye, bye bacon)
  • Accepting that seafood and rice are your new best friends
  • Pinching pennies to take a trip with your friends
  • Figuring out the public transportation system but being okay when the buses run late
  • Learning to adjust to “Thai Time” (ex: classes cancelled, classes late, meetings
    late, *basically everything that has a set time may be and probably will be
    dismissed)

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the benefits…

Benefits

  • Getting to hang out with kids that love to learn from you (be it English, an
    activity, or just spending time with you)
  • Getting a lot of “HELLOS!” and waves as you bike through your community
  • Becoming a bad-ass biker
  • Growing your patience and learning that sometimes things are just going to
    happen the way they do, and that’s okay
  • Accepting Thai time
  • Learning to jai yen yen (translated literally: cool your heart.)
  • Getting to go on interesting adventures with your host family
  • Meeting up with your fellow PCVs after weeks or months and feeling nothing
    but joy the entire time
  • Traveling (beaches, mountains, surrounding countries —you name it, Southeast Asia has got it!)
  • Expanding the love in your heart for a culture entirely unlike yours yet entirely welcoming and loving
  • Finding a new home in a place 8000 miles away from your old one
  • Learning that despite what humans look like on the outside, we all share the same kindness and love on the inside
  • Working towards a better world, doing the best you can every day, pushing on and seeing the joys in the little silver linings that come along the way

AA_Cuties

“The hardest job you’ll ever love.”

Boy, is that an understatement. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I think about how I want to go home or how different my life would be if I were back in the States. I allow myself those negative feelings. Then, I think about all the little things. Like, when I went to the market earlier today and saw 3 of my students. They ran up to me all smiles so happy to see me. I think about the time the 3rd grade class tried to corral me into their classroom to learn English even though it wasn’t their hour. I think about the community members that saw me walking in the morning and invited me to sit down with them and enjoy a
meal. I think about all the kind people that have helped me along the way while I’ve
been here.

You have to think of the little things, the moments that make it all worth it. Life is
not without struggle, no matter what your situation. Have your moment: be it sad,
upset or happy, but always concentrate on those silver linings.


 

1 reply »

  1. Some similarities to my time with the PC 1966-68 in Chachoengsao Prov. working in a public health project (Malaria Eradication). First reaction to differences between that time and now; we had no TV, limited radio access, no telephone, no mobile tel., no electricity in house midnight>6 AM, no Internet, cold baths with water from a dip tank, etc. but we did have a bicycle, extensive network of local friends, sent telegrams to friends, communicated with family in USA via aerograms, guaranteed front row seat on buses (foreigners reputedly brought extra good luck to the driver), children endlessly calling out “hey you, where you go”, and endless curiosity comments from Thais about where you come from and request for info about work activity. Learned early on about the Thai share (the bill for food consumed) system and how/when it was your turn to pick up the tab. Very often listed as the guest of honor at weddings, funerals and social parties. Participating in detail and a length in conversations with Thai counterparts was OK but not highly sought after with a side result that I often enjoyed a pleasurable quantity of great Thai food while my counterparts enjoyed their own conversations. Beer was great but most counterparts (for economical reasons) preferred Mekong whiskey. Frist experience with real French “Hennessy brandy” which was put on the table at some special social functions even at some very basic kow-gang restaurants. Overwhelmed with gratitude when for my first new year party at the health office I was given a gold ring with the Thai gov’t logo and at the 2nd year party I was given a large real silver bowel with my name and a message from the office engraved on the bottom. Such a great life experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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