RPCV Highlight – Hope Wall, GUY 11
1. What have you been up to since you finished Peace Corps?
Working with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres – MSF)
2. What do you miss most about Guyana and your Peace Corps experience?
Without a doubt my community – I have visited twice and it felt like going home and reconnecting with people with whom I had grown close in a family sort of way.
3. How did your experience in Guyana affect your post-Peace Corps experience?
The PC experience was a stepping stone – I had always wanted to work overseas and this gave me the experience I needed on my resume. I have really enjoyed keeping up with RPCVs – it is a special and unusual bond.
4. Describe a challenge you worked to overcome while in PC Guyana.
The cross culture experience was without difficulty as I had grown up in a similar culture. Social isolation was probably the most difficult part of the experience in the beginning
5. In 5 words, describe your Peace Corps experience.
Gratifying, satisfying, frustrating, peaceful, worthwhile
6. What is your favorite Peace Corps Guyana memory?
Sharing major life events with people – births, weddings, school achievements, deaths – it was a privilege to be integrated enough where I was included and could participate in, at times intensely, personal experiences
7. What was the hardest part of readjusting to post-Peace Corps life?
Realizing that the Peace Corps experience doesn’t really enhance your resume in many ways – although after 6 months it finally paid off. In the short term – adjusting from being a very active member of a community and returning (not to original homebase) and having to rebuild a life from scratch where it was a struggle to realize a sense of purpose.
8. Which lessons from Peace Corps have you applied in your post-Peace Corps jobs/life?
9. What advice would you give a future or current Peace Corps Volunteer (Guyana or otherwise)?Of the countries of service, in my estimation, Guyana is one of the easier ones to work in. Advice: the PC experience is what you make of it, it is a good idea to look at why you want to do the PC and what you want to gain from it – believe in those things and let that carry you through the tough times.
10. Would you do Peace Corps again? Where, when and why?
NO! as an older volunteer – it was very difficult to enter into a situation where I had to prove myself – which may be a culture set up by the CD – but I entered the Peace Corps with 18 years of professional experience, more education than most of the national PC staff and suddenly I felt I had to prove my value and commitment…I almost left because this was so disturbing. But I realized that as an older volunteer I could work ‘under the radar’ and fill a need in the community and essentially pay no attention to the PC administration.
I would however strongly recommend the PC – especially for those who have little travel experience and centric view of the world. In this way the PC opens your eyes and sets up the possibility for appreciating the world and the plight of the underserved, the disparity between the haves and the have nots, the income gap…we are all better off for having this opportunity. But it is not all about what one can get out of the experience it is an amazing opportunity to learn the giving side! Giving yourself, through grass roots efforts contributing to a community in some way! Completing the service in a community is incredibly meaningful especially from the community perspective – so often in the beginning I was asked ‘why do you give up everything you have in America to live here. You have no comforts. You separate from your family’.
Are you a Guyana RPCV who would like to be featured in our RPCV Highlight? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.