One year in

One year in

It’s that time in my service. Time when I write a reflective piece about how I’ve been in Indonesia for a year but still have one year to go. I’ve been putting this off for a while because I was not sure what there is to reflect upon; but this past weekend the new group of volunteers (ID11) visited their permanent sites and hearing about them making that trip provided some perspective on this topic.

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Lisa’s English camp

Lisa’s English camp

One of the more common projects Peace Corps Indonesia volunteers put together is an English Camp. Camps can differ significantly but they usually last for one or two days and include a series of short, focused English lessons. The weekend of January 21st I helped with an English camp organized by ID9 Lisa in neighboring district Majalengka.

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Core Expectations

Peace Corps service is a multi-faceted gem. Granted, one of those facets is basically the scene from the hit movie “Bridesmaids” where everyone has terrible diarrhea, except it’s once a month for two years, a gem nonetheless. It’s a complicated and difficult business to explain, what volunteers do and the focus of the work. In my opinion, one of the best ways to describe what being a volunteer is like is through the “Core Expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers.” There are ten core expectations and they are derived from the spirt of the three main goals of Peace Corps as an agency—I hope to later write a post elucidating upon each one.
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Volunteer report form

Volunteer report form

Three times a year, in January, July, and October, Peace Corps Indonesia volunteers complete what is known as a volunteer report form, or VRF for short. The VRF is essentially what PC headquarters uses to gauge volunteer effectiveness and, when all the VRFs from all PC countries are aggregated, to make informed and quantified proposals to congress to allocate funding each year.

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Cycle of vulnerability and adjustment

Being in the Peace Corps isn’t easy. I think I’ve made that clear before. But I mention this because the difficulties which volunteers go through are often well-documented and known beforehand. Despite being aware of many of the challenges we’ll face many volunteers still chose to end their service early or ET (early terminate). Twelve, of the original seventy-four in my group of volunteers, have returned home to America. Sixteen percent, and we’ve only been in Indonesia for six months. The reasons why people leave are nuanced and intricate, but no one left because they were having too much fun.

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Posh Corps

I was messaging a stateside friend recently and at one point during the conversation my friend described Peace Corps service as “glamorous.” Of course I immediately listed out many of the unglamorous aspects of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia—wouldn’t want anyone thinking we have it too easy over here. But there actually are many “glamorous,” or “posh,” things about being a PCV.

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