For those with whom I’ve totally botched recent communication about my life, I’m moving to Thailand on Wednesday. With the Peace Corps. Actually, on Wednesday I’m venturing into the wilds of Portland – where, according to the guy singing songs at the bar last night put it, they “do yoga with cats, or whatever.” Friday I fly to Tokyo and on Saturday, I’ll be in Bangkok. From Bangkok it’s a bus trip North to Singburi, a short stay in a hotel, followed by ten weeks living with a homestay family somewhere in this area:
I’m beyond excited and look forward to sharing fragments of adventures, questions and stories – my own and others’.
I’ll be serving as a Youth in Development Worker for 28 months. For the first ten weeks that I mentioned above, I’ll be in Pre-Service Training. Come mid-March, I’ll (ideally) be sworn into the Peace Corps and head off to an as-yet-undetermined site and job where I’ll be living until March 2018. Feel free to get in touch to make plans for that spring.
While I don’t know specifics, the general Youth in Development project is as follows, from a 10,000 ft. international development perspective:
“The Youth in Development (YinD) Project prepares and engages young Thai people for their adult roles… The YinD project focuses on:
• Supporting young people to develop healthier lifestyles • Preparing young people for the world of work • Engaging young people as active citizens and • Building support for youth
The project targets Youth in the age range of 11-15.”
The space for creativity and a variety of projects within this assignment was one factor in my final decision to do the Peace Corps. I seriously debated whether this was right for me for a while, swinging back and forth. I worried the job would be too narrow and limited when it’s important to me at this point to learn about a large range of experiences and topics, in “international development” and elsewhere.
I worried about the isolation and about beginning again, again. After finishing my undergrad, I worked in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative helping with communications projects and as a research fellow. I learned a mountain about international advocacy and human rights work. But while in Halifax, I failed to find a community and struggled to cultivate areas of my life that had been important to me in college. My time there bred doubts about service.
Hashing it out with friends and family however, I worked back to an enthusiastic “yes.” I’m looking for that sort of an internal and external leap, that sort of a learning trip.
There’s a book or two more in the presses about deciding on Peace Corps, the positives and negatives in international aid work, my elephant-riding aspirations and whether I’ll eat bugs or not. I’d rather not write my way into any certain set of expectations however, so I’ll leave this post without too much postulating and presupposing. For now, I just owe an enormous thank you to everybody who supported me along to this point, helping both in the short-term run-up and the long game.
That’s the plan for now – I’ll probably write next from Thailand!