As I was approaching my one-year anniversary in the Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, I started thinking more seriously about starting a blog. I had wanted to write for a long time, but had always gotten stuck trying to think of a way to provide an honest picture of my Peace Corps experience while maintaining some kind of professional censorship. The balance has not been easy.
The Peace Corps makes you put this disclaimer on your blog that reads Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Peace Corps or U.S. Government so they can write you off as some half-crazy rogue when you flip out and say what’s actually on your mind. We are not encouraged to keep blogs or any kind of electronic correspondence when it comes to our raw and unedited thoughts. The best advice given is to write it on a piece of paper and lock it in your room. Even loose-leaf paper with enough scrawled out fuel can burn a village.
And that’s where it gets me. I like Kyrgyzstan enough to want to stick around. I have no intention of embarrassing, upsetting or offending anyone. If for any reason, I’m starting this blog as a way to give this place value in the eyes of the outside world. Yet at the same time I want to make known to anyone who cares what two-years in the Peace Corps can do to a person. If that turns me into a half-crazy rogue, then I’ll enjoy my straightjacket ride back to the States.
Anyone has to be a little bit crazy to be here. There’s something inside each Peace Corps Volunteer that precludes him from any claim to being an average American. I’ve said this several times to people I’ve met: “Don’t think that what you’re seeing is a typical representation of an American dude,” though I like to hope the best of America is at least glowing just under my skin. (Or is that the sunburn?) Maybe the best way to say it is, we’re weird. We are. At least I am, and if I’m weird I think that implicates my peers by comparison.
So here it is, my blog, or Lessons from the Peace Corps. Enjoy the weirdness, and I hope you learn something too.