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Monday, February 17, 2014

Peace Corps Mid-Service, Whoa

One year ago, I landed in Guatemala City with 28 Trainees and began the complex, interesting, and challenging transition into life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The conflicting realities of life and work here have significantly cooled my desire to work professionally in the grassroots development sector, but I would be remiss not to note how thankful I am for the new skills, experiences and friendships I have gained during this time.

In the Peace Corps Unofficial Handbook, there is a chart that explains the so-called 27-month cycle that most Peace Corps Volunteers experience. I think it accurately reflects what I, and many of my peers are going through as we approach our second year in the Corps. 

Month Issues Behavior/Reaction

11 - 15

  • Mid-Service Crisis
  • Doubt of Program, Role, Self, Govt
  • Various Failures Over Time Reflection: Disillusionment, Confusion Resolving Frustrations with Victories
  • New Trainees Arrive
  • Holiday Time
  • Impatience with Self and Program System
  • Blame on Program
  • Constant Complaining
  • Lethargy
  • Haughtiness with New Trainees via Super Identification with Image and Dress
  • Holiday Planning/Mini-Vacation
  • Review Work Plan
  • Set New Goals
  • Plan Vacation
  • One Year Anniversary Celebration
  • Develop New Recreation Options
  • Write Long Lost Acquaintances
  • Explore Better Relations with GVO & NGO Folks
  • Return to Language Study and Practice

I can most significantly relate to the third bullet point in the chart, but I'm actively working to make sure I stay on track. Last week saw a lot of cancellations, with my Counterpart putting the icing on the cake by telling me "I sometimes forget to tell the teachers they are required to be at your trainings", but there's no use crying over spilled horchata, right?

It's difficult to express how I feel about my Peace Corps Service thus far, mainly because I cannot muster any strong emotions about my Service (is that a bad sign?), but I raise my glass to the efforts of those in my cohort. Living and working in a new country with new rules and expectations is not as easy as it sounds. 


  1. Great to see that you are still coming along, and pretty well at that. I look forward to reading more about you overall experience after completing your service.

    Cuídate- Continue to take good care!

    1. Thank you! I hope all is well with you and your growing family! Take care!

  2. I've been nominated for a Youth in Development assignment in Guatemala, starting in July of 2014. I've loved stalking your blog over the last few days.

    Would you be willing to talk to me a bit about your experience there? Is skype a possibility? Or basic chat?

    Thanks for putting this out there.

    1. Sure, Keri! Send me an e-mail (it's located in the "About Me" section.) I'd love to talk, and I can also put you in touch with some current YiD Volunteers ;)

  3. "The conflicting realities of life and work here have significantly cooled my desire to work professionally in the grassroots development sector. . ." Amen, girl, amen. I'm happy we have this second year to continue trying to work some kinks out. :) We're totally gonna be diplomats before you know it. :-P Good luck kicking off PC Year #2 and suerte with all the FSO stuff!

    1. Gracias, lady! And you're right...what does not kill us will definitely make us better diplomats! Also, I met a guy here who was a PCV in Darien probably 4 years ago. He's now a Response Volunteer here in Guatemala and came to my site for a meeting. Small world ;)