Archive - June 12, 2010

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Peace Corps Was

Peace Corps Was

by Peg Clement (Tunisia 1975–77) This essay was first published in the November 2003 issue of PeaceCorpsWriters.org, and won Peace Corps Writers’ 2004 Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award. • PEACE CORPS WAS two years of my young life, half my life ago. A time of long blonde braids, still-chubby cheeks, a hardy body withstanding weeks of tummy rumbles, pinkened skin before sunscreen became de rigueur. Quick reflexes, and a back hardened to floor sleeping. Easy laughs. Peace Corps was unexpected, and unplanned for, fun. Many times, it just happened — someone arrives descending feet-first from the louage, at the doorstep, or someone shows up at a beach disco. Instant friends, mix and stir. A prepackaged community, insurance premium against the loneliness of the Sahelian plains. Peace Corps was earnestness. Adults used the word altruistic. We tried to do good, and reached for change, big change — winds of change, . . .

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