But honestly, haven’t had that much trouble with reverse culture shock. The conveniences of modern USA are pretty nice. I’m not going to miss activities like having to wash my clothes by hand, and showering with a bucket of water and a ladle. There are things I will miss. The Philippines is a beautiful country. The people I lived and worked with were all wonderfully friendly. But like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
The ‘Peace Corps experience’ is vastly different from 20 years ago and vastly different from country to country and even between sites within a country. I was in a rural area that is rapidly modernizing. But even with conveniences like regular access to internet there remain plenty of hardships both psychological and physical. I’m not sure about the long-term sustainability of any of my projects themselves. Too often environmental work can seem like just a drop in an ocean of issues. However, I am sure that I built some great relationships, influenced a number of people to think/live/work a little differently, and helped strengthen the global sense of community that ties us together as human beings. Would I do another 2 years? No, I’m ready for the next step in my life and career. But would I go back and change my mind about going? Absolutely not.
(The employees of the Municipal Agriculture Office of Culasi at some point during my two years when I was clean-shaven.)