On January 3, 1995, I embarked upon “the toughest job I would ever love,” as I left the United States to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. We joked about it really being the “beach corps,” but truly, those three years of my life marked me in many ways. I highly recommend the Peace Corps to anyone of any age. It’s never too late or too early to dive into it. I’m sure it’s very different now that email and internet connect us so quickly–yet whenever one jumps into living in a different culture, change of perspective happens, even if on a tiny scale.
What I didn’t know then, is that I was also beginning a practice that I continue today, my daily documentation in my Visual Diary. You can see me working on the second year of that practice in the above top right picture.
The bottom left I am pictured with Bridges, the St. Kitts Peace Corps director on July 4, 1996 discussing something very serious. The other pics are me with some of my students, including when we made a float for carnival one year, bottom left.
I celebrated this monumental beginning this week by meeting up with one of my dear friends from that time. There’s something about being on a 65-square mile rock in the middle of the Caribbean that keeps you together even years after the occasion. That, for sure, is one of the best parts of being a volunteer–the friends and the relationships that you develop during your experience.