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December 18, 2008 Word of the day: Posh Corps

Joke: There’s a glass of water on a table, filled to 50% of its capacity. A pessimist comes by and says, “That glass is half-empty!” An optimist comes by and says, “That glass is half full!” A Peace Corps Volunteer comes by and says, “Ooh, look, a bath!”

There’s another punchline I like even better: The PCV says, “Ooh, look, potable water!”

So what is “Posh Corps”? It’s when our lifestyles are rather more … posh … than you might expect.

Posh Corps is kind of a standing joke in Peace Corps Morocco. Morocco is a rapidly developing nation, not an undeveloped nation, which means that some of our Volunteers have more amenities than those jokes imply. The more amenities you have, the closer you come to being in “Posh Corps”. I’m getting close; I have cell phone service, electricity, running water in my house (albeit only a few hours a day), and I just got internet access. OK, the internet has worked less than 40% of the time, but I still have it. Sometimes. And OK, the water is dependent on temperature: whenever it gets cold enough, my pipes freeze and I have no water for up to a week at a time. So far, though, the pattern seems to be that if the sun comes out and the temperatures get into the 40s for several afternoons in a row, my pipes thaw and the water comes back.

The real “Posh Corps” Volunteers are the city-dwellers who have hot running water, 24/7, along with electricity, in-home internet access, cell phone service, and every amenity outside their front doors. (Cafes, pastry shops, clothing stores, housewares stores, etc.) There are veeeery few Environment or Health Volunteers who can claim all that. But nearly all Youth Development Volunteers are in cities, and many Small Business Volunteers are, too, so those of us living in the bled (rural areas) continue to tease them. But as the bled continues to develop, more and more of us are taking steps towards Posh Corps. And we’re not complaining… :)

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