The Peace Corps

This isn't exactly har-de-har, but do any of you have experience with the Peace Corps, either you or a relative or friend?

This is my first question post, but I think the people on this forum are so very smart and experienced in alot of areas.

My daughter who is 24 and very educated but is afraid of a spider in the bathtub, is going to Mali, in West Africa on September 21, about the third most underdeveloped and poorest country ON EARTH!! The usual temperature is 110 degrees, and there will probably be no running water or electricity.

I have been supportive of this noble endeavor, but secretly frightened to death!!

I plan to be a mess.


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • When I was a senior in college, my soon to be bride and I got accepted into the Peace Corps. Our assignment was San Salvadore. We were to go to the God-Awful country of California for language prep and 'in country prep'. We didn't go. Chickened out and found real jobs. Never will forget that 'almost experience'. I did not even have a clue where San Salvadore was. My advice is that you not try to restrain her spirit. That cannot be done. Grit your teeth and be supportive. Grandchildren in 7 years will pay you back.
  • No experience with the Peace Corps, but I do have good friends who are missionaries in Mali. His parents were missionaries there too so he grew up there. Their kids are being raised there and when they come home they seem well adjusted - just normal kids. They have lots of interesting stories. But, love what they are doing.
  • "Be supportive" is the best advice to give. This is obviously something she has to do, and maybe she'll back out at the last minute, too. You don't know, and you need to be there for her either way. Then, if she does go, at least she will have the peace of mind that you're on board with her and she can get everything out of the experience that she wants/needs to.
  • I'd have so many mixed feelings: pride, sorrow, fear, happiness, admiration; but I'd be supportive. I'd be reading everything I could find about Mali including the cost of air fair in December. Don't know my geography very well, but our friends were missionaries in Monrovia, Liberia. They lived in 'the sticks' and raised 3 children there. The family seems happy and normal.

    Or your could tell her about the huge spiders in Mali.
  • People with a dream typically tend to not sweat the small stuff, like where she will have to be to accomplish it, what the temperature will be while working toward her dream or whether there will be a problem having clean socks for each day of the week. The Dream overshadows all else. I admire her. It speaks well of the young. I think I can recall having one or two REAL dreams in my life and how peaceful it was being blinded by the dream's beauty and how comfortable it was not even caring about the small stuff. I hope she walks (stomps) right over every obstacle in her path to achieve her dream.

    On a related note: A year ago my daughter told me she was altering her major to become a school counselor in this state which has just climbed from 50 to 48 in teacher pay. Concerned that she would not make any money I said, "I can tell you from experience that that will not be rewarding." Her response was, "Dad, it might not have been for you, but it will be for me". x:-) After all, it's her dream and I had no right to attempt to alter it.
  • >Her response was, "Dad, it might not have been for you, but it will be for me".

    That tells that you were a great success in helping her develop strong wings. Bravo Dad! xclap

  • In all honesty, if one of my kids came home and said they wanted to do that - I'd say NO!

    But another question - Was this a surprise? I mean has she ever talked about doing something like this before? Does it fit with her personality? (I'm not talking about spiders in bath tubs) If so, then there probably is not as much to worry about as you think.
  • NG: I'm sure all parents have said 'no' many times. So have I. The most valuable secret is knowing when you have reached the stage (due to their age) when 'no' is no longer the appropriate or productive response. I assume your children to be young. When they reach the age of 15 or so, the frequency at which you say the word 'no' has a direct and proportionate correlation with the diminishing number of times they speak with you prior to acting. And when they reach 24, as Irene's daughter has done, using the word 'no' has little or no value unless used as an exclamation and preceded by the word "OH".
  • I think this is a great opportunity and resume builder. It will give her something to talk about during the "tell me about your biggest challenge" job interview question.

    Perhaps another way to discuss this topic would be to ask those that do hiring how they tend to view former Peace Corps volunteers. How the experience shaped them and turned them into great ee's.

    One other thing to keep in mind...if she has any student loans, deferments are available to keep the payments on hold while she is serving. Have her check with her loan holder well before leaving.

    Best wishes to her!
  • Thank you for all your great responses. I was having trouble logging on. I feel better now hearing that people have actually come home from Mali! I like the "just say no", would that that would work!I have read numerous journals from PCVs in many countries, and yes, have shared the "rat in the bed" graphics with her, extreme emotional reactions from the malaria medication they make them take, parasites from the river that burrow into your feet and give you a hurrendous illness, etc. No, I wasn't suprised at this decision, and have not really tried to dissuade her. To those of you familiar with quantum physics, the part of me that wants her to leave the Corps early could be the thing that makes her fail, and I don't want to do that.
  • I agree. I meant No as in if they asked for my advice, realizing at 24 that you can't really stop them and I do believe in raising kids to be independent and think for themselves. I do also believe in transferring the decsion making a little at a time. My husband and I are already doing that with our 16 year old.

    What you said does remind me of the time I told my Dad that I was going to move out of the house and get my first apartment. I was 24, had a good job (it should not have been a surprise to him). He said "NO" anyway followed by an exlamation how could I possibly move out I did not have my own TV yet!!!. He lived for coming home after work and watching golf on tv-there was allways a tournament on somewhere in the world. Anyway, I was amused and said that I think I could make do with out a tv for a while; I was ready to be on my own.
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