When I received my invitation to join the Peace Corps and finished the required paperwork, I had no idea what to expect from service or from the country I was going to see. I was told things about the Peace Corps, and I read letters from volunteers who were currently serving, but that didn’t prepare me for the two years I would serve. (Well, really 27 months and 27 days, but who was counting?)
As a member of the Peace Corps, I was able to have experiences in three countries with a stopover in a third. We started our training in Senegal, served in Guinea, and I was one of three volunteers to represent Peace Corps Guinea at a Cross-cultural Seminar in Benin. The flight between Benin and Guinea had a long layover in Mali, so we took the opportunity to see some sights.
While I was in Guinea, I was having experiences that my family and friends would have a hard time relating to. Hunger at your doorstep with bloated bellies, skinny legs, and real names is very different than the Sally Struthers commercials on TV where hunger is something you should pity. Eating the same meal three times a day for months on end is also something relatively unknown in the U.S. Using your right hand to eat and never using your left hand, squatting over a latrine, and learning the water method instead of TP are all experiences that are difficult to understand. I hoped by writing letters home I would be able to bridge the gap that otherwise could’ve formed over two years of no communication. It would encourage my friends and family to keep in touch with me, and give us some common ground when I returned.
“My Life in the Peace Corps: Letters from Guinea, West Africa” will be released on Dec. 28, 2020 in eBook format on Amazon. I will try to publish the paperback on Amazon about that same time. If you want to get it quickly, watch my Facebook page for a link. If you want an autograph, you can pre-order the paperback on Penguinate.com. As soon as I get some copies, I will sign them and send them out. This process will take longer than ordering directly from Amazon because I have to wait for Amazon to ship them to me and cannot order them ahead of time.