WSJ Article on a Peace Corps Mom In Thailand

The weekend edition of the WSJ has an amusing Peace Corps story entitled, “My Mom the Adventurer. Myself, Not So Much” written by novelist Dina Nayer, who’s debut novel, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, was released last year. The article is about how Dina went to visit her mother, who at the age 56 was a PCV in a rural Thailand village outside of Chiang Mai back in 2012. Anyone who has had parents or friends, etc., visit their site knows what happens next.

While Dina grew up in America from the age of 10, her mother had been a doctor, a volunteer health-care worker, a radio personality, a pastry chef, had served time in a Iranian jail, and then  reaching the U.S. she became a PCV.

Daughter Dina went to Harvard.1346763829276

Well, Dina comes to visit to stay for a month in her mother’s thatch-roofed hut (she lasted one night) and she needs to go to the bathroom. (I know you know what’s coming!)

“My mother pointed to a door past the kitchen, a look of concern passing over her face as if she had just remembered, ‘Oh yes, my daughter is a little pampered.’ The toilet, I discovered, was a hole in the ground next to a bucket of water and a bowl. I ran out in shock, about to explode. My mother, hiding a smile, said, “See? Just like Iran!”

Later that first night, PCV mom gets under the mosquito net with her daughter, puts a plate of watermelon on the wooden platform and told her stories of when she was a child in Iran and played with snakes and rodents. She then talks about the ‘toilet issue’ and asks her daughter: “Do you want to be more than just a weak woman with a pen. Don’t you want to write stories from all over the world, gathered from all kinds of people, not just the ones you already know?”

My mother, she writes, “knows what words move me. Yes, I wanted all those things. I mustered my strength and prepared to conquer the hole. Afterward, I couldn’t stop congratulating myself. “I can’t believe I did that,” I said. ‘I swear, that was harden than Harvard.”

Ain’t that the truth.


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  • OZZENTAO: You Make Your Own Oz
    oz is a nonsense.
    zen is the moment of awareness.
    tao is letting the moment go.
    zen sees everything that is.
    tao moves with everything.
    you make your own oz .
    (c)Edward Mycue

  • a good story, with a valuable lesson. especially when one considers that the vast majority of the world’s population lives with the ‘hole’!

  • Love this story! When I was a PCV in Senegal between the ages 55-58, so many young volunteers asked me what the hell my kids thought about me. They felt that it must be tough to have a mother like me. Did I care? Just like your mother, Dina. What’s her name, BTW. I’d love to hear more about Iran.

    Leita Kaldi Davis
    (Senegal 1993-96)

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