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11/25/09 The Mountain

I could have sworn I'd written about this before, but can't find it in a quick search of the archives, so here goes...

My region is dense with Peace Corps Volunteers. For a relatively small region, we're flush with PCVs. For the past six months, we've had 13; we recently lost three, but we just gained five more with the newly arrived YD and SBD Volunteers, so we're up to 15. I thought we were nearly saturated, but I just got an email from our staff that says we're going to get a whole bunch more. The Mountain might have as many as 20 Volunteers.

So what is "The Mountain"? It's the shorthand that most of my local PCV buddies and I use to refer to those of us who share our Souqtown. Some people prefer "Souqtown Crew" or "The Souqtown Gang". I like "The Mountain."

Of course, it's not entirely accurate. The road from Berberville to Souqtown runs along a valley floor past several mountain ranges, and several of the Volunteers who make up "The Mountain" live in adjoining valleys, on the far side of these ranges. Some of our crew are in the flatlands on the far side of our Souqtown. They tend to prefer "Crew".

But I like The Mountain, for all its vagueness and inaccuracy.

Today, I visited my two nearest Mountain Volunteers. Our sites are close enough - evenly spaced every 20km along the road - that it's actually possible to go and return in a single day, if you time the transits carefully enough. Of course, given the vagaries of transportation on The Mountain, it's also entirely possible that you'll end up stuck in a friend's site overnight. But we all keep lots of sleeping bags and blankets and ponjs on hand, so it all works out well in the end.

I have to say, I'm going to miss these impromptu sleepovers when (if) I return to the US.

Remind me why we stopped having slumber parties after childhood?

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