Change Yourself…Change The World.


ET
April 29, 2012, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Early Termination.

It’s a taboo topic in the Peace Corps. Early Termination (or ET) means a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) is kicked out of the Peace Corps, or decides to go home of their own accord before their end of service. There are many factors for why a PCV decides to end their service early, some even for reasons outside of a PCV’s control. For some Volunteers, an ET is a topic discussed in hushed tones, as if there was some sort of death. Some high-minded Volunteers think that people who ET‘ed couldn’t handle the Peace Corps, or that they just decided to give up.

I don’t really know what I thought of ET’ing until my best friend in the Peace Corps decided to leave Paraguay. I’m proud of her for making the right choice for herself, though it was hard for me to face. The Peace Corps really is it’s own little world, and it’s a special one. Words cannot describe how difficult it is to adjust to a completely different culture, utterly alone in your community. Friends and family back in the United States can only understand so much. Your friends in the Peace Corps become so much more than friends: they become the only people who understand what you’re going through and are fully there for you. My best friend was my pillar of support here in Paraguay. Not a day went by where I didn’t speak to her on the phone. Our conversations ranged from frustrations to love interests to irrational feelings, to bowel movements. There was lots of laughter, many ridiculous experiences and memories, and one too many brownies.

I’m proud of my friend for making it through some of the toughest experiences here a Volunteer can face, and more than anything I’m extremely grateful for the entire year I got to spend with her, to have met her and had such an amazing friendship.

With my friend leaving, I’ve realized that while the Peace Corps is an incredible experience, it’s not for everyone. And that while it takes a lot of courage to be here as a Volunteer and living in a foreign culture, it takes a special kind of courage and maturity to realize it isn’t right for them.

So here’s to you, my wonderful, intelligent, mature friend. We’ll miss you a lot down here in Paraguay, but only one more year until we’re all reunited again.


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