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5/5/09 Changes

It feels like a cliche to say "Peace Corps will change you."

But it's true.

Many of the changes are obvious, like my new lifestyle and hobbies (washing dishes! woohoo!).

Some surprise me.

The other day, I found myself looking around for a way to mark a wall, in preparation for a project we were doing. We'd forgotten to bring pencils or sharpies, so I tried to be resourceful.

I noticed a shard of broken glass on the ground, forming a trapezoid roughly 2" x 2". "Oh, hey, we can use that to make small scratch marks in the plaster!" I pointed out to another PCV. Then we discovered that we needed yet more tools, so I ended up taking the 15-minute walk home to get them all (including sharpies).

An hour or two later, hands absorbed in the manual labor but with my mind wandering, it occurred to me that a year ago, I'd have responded differently to noticing the shard of glass.

I might have thought about litter, and what a problem it is in my new community; more likely, I'd have thought about the danger it poses in a village where most people walk around in plastic sandals. I might even have picked it up and carried it home, so I could bring it to the dumpster 140 km away, next time I pack out my trash.

But now, I noticed it only as a potential tool, and when it became clear that we wouldn't need to use it, I more or less forgot about it.

The two songs currently vying for primacy on my mental iPod are "Ch-ch-ch-changin'..." and "I feel just like I'm walking on broken glass..."

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps