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You might be a PCV if...

This is a list another PCV posted on their blog. We laughed out loud
on almost everyone since we can actually relate to ALL of them!! Jarod
edited it a little for the one that didn't fit our lives or were not
so appropriate for readers! :) We hope you enjoy it.

You might be a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda if…
1. You refuse to walk outside in even the slightest drizzle
2. Pooping is your biggest accomplishment for the day…or the week…
3. 6:30 a.m. is sleeping in, and 9:30 p.m. is a wild and crazy night.
4. And for you, it is somehow easier, in the life, to become
accustomed to speak English like this.
5. You refer to people as "that one there" and it no longer
feels even a little rude.
6. You even occasionally refer to yourself as "this one here"
and it just feels so right.
7. Your tailbone has been ground to dust thanks to hard benches
and five-hour ceremonies.
8. You think that women look drab if they are wearing few than
four distinct colors.
9. You can carry on an entire conversation using grunts and
"mmmmmm" noises.
11. You text while riding motos.
12. Text messages from MTN make you sad, because for a second you
thought that you had friends.
13. All your socks have a permanent burnt sienna hue.
14. You put on the good-smelling sunscreen to disguise the fact that
you haven't bathed in several days—and that's basically the only time
you wear sunscreen.
15. You become fiercely territorial when there are unidentified
abazungu (white people) in your village.
16. Rather than kill all the creeping and crawling critters in your
house, you name them all and invent elaborate soap operas about their
17. There's no such thing as too much shine.
18. The majority of your budget goes toward buying toilet paper,
candles, and phone credit.
21. You know that there's always room for one more person on the bus.
22. But you have still elbowed someone in the face in order to get
on the bus before them.
23. You feel no remorse about elbowing people in the face while
boarding buses.
24. The tall people in Kigali scare you.
25. You are not even a little freaked out when the village crazy
runs up to you and tries to steal your umbrella from right out of your
26. You are at least one hour late to everything…and are still the
first person to arrive.
27. You pray your god in bed on Sunday morning.
28. You recognize the four major food groups as salt, sugar, starch, and oil.
29. Your pillow, mattress, sheets, and hair all have scorch marks
from reading in bed by candlelight or from drying them by charcoal stove.
30. You vow to never trim your toenails by candlelight again.  Ever.
32. Standing in your yard, staring at the road, is a perfectly
acceptable way to pass a Saturday afternoon.
33. You can open a Fanta bottle with virtually anything and everything.
34. You can eat a jar of peanut butter in two days.
35. You have a major existential crisis and seriously contemplate
quitting Peace Corps when you realize that you are out of
peanut butter.
37.   The only snap, crackle, and pop that you hear is the sound of
insects exploding in your candle's flame.
39.   You walk around your house with small objects balanced on your head.
40.   Your first reaction to MTN's free calls after 11 promo was "if
anyone dares to call me that late, I will end them."
41.   You cry at the sight of Cheez-Its.
42.   You find it easier to agree with people that "it is the change
in the climate which has made you so ill."
43.   You hate the dry season, until the rainy season begins.  Then
you hate that too.
45.   "It it's not oozing pus, it is not a problem" is your personal
health motto.
48.   The preschoolers in your village are all trained to hug you.
49.   Hugs become slightly awkward because you failed to realize that
preschoolers grow quickly, and that many of their faces are now
uncomfortably level with your crotch.
50.   You no longer give clothing the sniff test, because you know
that you're going to wear it anyway.
51.   You refuse to reply to anyone that screams at you from beyond
your response radius.
52.   Depending on your mood, your response radius can extend for your
entire district, or only as far as your arm hair.
54.   It's weird to see grown men walking beside each other and not
holding hands.
55.   You no longer believe that rabbits are cute.  You believe that
they should be roasted on a stick.
56.   You sometimes play your radio very softly so that the neighbors
won't know that you're home.
57.   You are always the sweatiest person in the room.
60.   You look at a plate of greasy, salty fries and think, "this
needs mayonnaise."
61.   You have found mold in very improbably places.
62.   You frequently eat an entire pineapple and spend the rest of the
evening poking yourself in the belly and singing the SpongeBob
SquarePants theme song.
63.   You are determined to streak the tea fields.
64.   You do a double-take when you see someone carrying a backpack on
their back instead of on their head.
65.   You talk to goats.
66.   Chamberpots are suddenly very practical.
68.   Everyone knows your routine.  And everyone comments if you
deviate from it.
69.   You no longer look at the menu, because what you order is not
likely to be what you get.
70.   You talk about anything on a bus because no one can understand you.
71.   It's extremely embarrassing when there's a surprise Ugandan on
the bus who can understand everything you say.
72.   You have come to accept the fact that, just because it claims to
be an internet café, that is no guarantee there will be an internet
connection.  Or a computer.
73.   Your favorite game is to see how many Disney lyrics you can slip
into everyday conversation.
74.   Your most reliable source of protein is the fruit flies that
drown in your coffee.


Peace Corps a married couple

  • How long have you been married?
  • Two years this week.
  • How many children do you have?
  • None.
  • Why?
  • Because we are practicing family planning.
  • Why?
  • Because we don’t want children just yet.
  • Oh…you must be stagnant!

They say the first few years of marriage are sometimes the most difficult. But what if the majority of those first few years are spent in a 3rd world country in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity or running water, nobody to speak English to, no comfort foods available at the local grocery store, no friends or family to talk to when you are having a bad day, what then? What happens when everything familiar to you is stripped away, when nothing makes any sense anymore, when you can identify with absolutely nothing, nothing except for your better half?

Most of you would probably say that serving in the Peace Corps as a married couple would make PC service much easier. And although I have never served as a single person, I would have to say you are probably right. You can never put a price on having your own built in support system with you 24/7 or hanging on to the single most important thing to all the while leaving everything else behind, especially when that one thing speaks discernable English to you. Not to mention is also beautiful and shares a bed with you. Who can argue with that?

There is no doubt that serving as a married couple has its benefits. To be honest, I would have it no other way. And to be even more honest, I am not sure I would make it two years at our site alone. Two years of odd lip smacking sounds, an array or grunts and weird moans reassuring someone that you are listening, the strictly observed, prompt and punctual meeting times (yeah right), the extremely accurate estimate of all distances and time frames (please), the ever so pungent smell of the breath of your translator beside you during some Rwandan gathering, the discouraging 2 hour hike straight up the mountain just to catch a bus another 1 ½ hours to the nearest PCV, not to mention an endless line of awkward situation waiting to unravel themselves on you around every corner…yup, not sure I could handle two years of that alone.

But I would be lying if I said that serving as a married couple is a cake walk. On the contrary, it has its share of difficulties, frustrations and hard times. Married life here in Rwanda is so unlike anything we have ever known before. In Rwanda, more specifically in Banda Village, gone are the days of 8-10 hour work days, fighting the traffic rush home just to spend a few evening hours together, have dinner together and hear about each others day. Yes, those days are long gone, vanished, lost in a hazy memory of amazing food, restaurants, movie theaters and countless other entertaining past times. You can all identify with that. Now, it’s all us all the time, every meal together, mostly every morning, afternoon and evening together. Peace Corps life has brought on a whole new dynamic to our marriage. But, it’s only natural to cling to what is familiar when everything else is taken away, right? Who wouldn’t do the same? However, there is no doubt this 24/7 close quarters living has brought on its own new share of frustrations. I mean let’s be honest. One can only handle so much Jarod before they are ready to spontaneously combust. There are times when Sarah flat out says, “I need a break from you for a while.” At first this was tough to hear, but I have come to understand her more over time. There is no girl time here, no girl talks, girls night out for pedicures, dinner and a movie or whatever it is that girls do on girls night out. And I clearly don’t fit that role well.

Also, the necessity to cling to what is familiar (in my case my wife) can lead to a sense of identity loss. Sometimes you feel you are slowly morphing into one blob together, your independent self and identity slowly fading away. I understand well that being married requires a giving of yourself, compromising, sharing and in some ways even meshing into one person. However, married life in a PC rural village takes this concept to a whole new level. This has been something we both have had to learn throughout our PC experience, to live with, deal with and make the best of. It’s usually a simple as one of us taking off for the morning or afternoon somewhere in the village, spending some time alone. Other times it may require man time, wielding a machete on some tree branch for me or a girl talk for Sarah. Either way, we have learned over the past 19 months (and 3 years of our marriage) to handle these issues.

Another frustration of being a married couple in PC is the exclusion that comes along with it. This one is tough to explain but there is no doubt we are in a different category as a married couple and therefore, in some ways (that we don’t necessarily love), treated differently. Whether it’s not being invited to a party or get-together, not being included in a conversation or not being invited on a trip, the “their married” card definitely comes into play at times. And, I am fine with that. It’s true. We are married, happily. This has just been tough learning to deal with and accept because back in the US, we both had many friends, single or married, that we were able to frequently hang out with.

All in all, as I mentioned before, I wouldn’t trade life in PC as a married couple for anything, except maybe some boneless asian zing wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, just kidding, but seriously. The benefits of having the love of your life with you in such a unique and special place, sharing each and every experience with you, not knowing what each new crazy Rwandan day will bring is priceless. Knowing that no matter how many eyes glaze over as I recount stories of our life in Rwanda, our experiences, our encounters, Sarah will always be able to relate and understand. We will always have our memories here, experiences, and awful days in Rwanda that we will never forget. That can never be taken away from us. And that is something special.