Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Welcome to Paradise?

PST-St. Lucia

Everyone keeps telling us that we’ve arrived in Paradise.  I don’t know what it means to be in Paradise, but I can tell you that these last 2 days have been perfect.  Miami was kind of odd, not going to lie.  All 28 of EC 84 meet up there for a small orientation.  Basically, a review of everything all volunteers know about the Peace Corps.  I mean, if you’ve ever applied to the PC you know how long it takes to meet each step of the application and along the way you become very familiar with all of the goals.  Therefore, by the time you actually make it to your country of service you know, without a doubt, that you want to spend the next 27 months serving in the PC.  If you had any qualms you would not have made it this far. There are just too many opportunities to drop out of the race.

I thought that meeting people (fellow volunteers) would be super stressful.  Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Everyone one of us here, ages 22-50, are so similar.  We each have our unique reasons for joining the PC, but at the end of the day we’re all passionate about change and have committed to help.  This alone makes you feel connected to everyone immediately—no cheesy icebreakers needed.

We’ve had a lot of down time recently, a very rare prize in the PC (so I’m told).  We landed in St. Lucia on Friday and have had a relatively chill weekend, meaning lots of trips to the beach.  I know the EC PC has a reputation:  “beach corps”.  In the last 3 days we’ve heard this reference too many times.  Not a moment goes by without one of us asking whether or not this is actually happening to us.  Most of us were nominated for Asia, Africa, or South America so the Caribbean came as a complete surprise to us.  Not going to lie, in Miami a lot of us voiced our objections to the Caribbean:  tourists, no new language to learn, tourists, proximity to the U.S., and oh and did I mention the tourists?  None of us wanted to be on “vacation” we wanted to rough it and really experience the real life of these amazing populations.  Boy weren’t we in for a shock.

The Peace Corps in the Caribbean is not the “Beach Corps.”  Each of these countries has a void that cannot be filled by their citizens, and therefore has invited the U.S. PC to come in and help support so many necessary programs.  Relaxing during the weekend was a special treat.  Since then we’ve officially kicked off our Pre-Service Training and are drowning in information about the Eastern Caribbean and community integration…to be continued.

Here are some pictures I took in St. Lucia.  Enjoy the views.

 ps.  I never thought that I would ever swim in the ocean. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the beach, but am scared of the ocean, specifically, the creatures in the ocean.  Mom & Dad you can be proud of me because I did it! I swam way out in the deep blue...until I saw a fish :)


  1. Hi Shruti! This is Sam Claypool from Knox. I don't know if you remember me but we had a lot of PS classes together over the years. I am so excited for you and I can't wait to follow your journeys. My husband and I are still in the "nomination" stages of the PC. Reading your blog today gave me new enthusiasm to see this dream through. It is such a long process and very easy to get bogged down thinking our service day will never come. If you have any advice for us along the way please share. Good luck and have fun!

  2. Hi Sam! Of course I remember you! I'm so glad to hear from you guys. The one thing I've learned from the other volunteers is that the application process is horrendously long, but your day will come and it will be so worth it!!! The only thing I can recommend is contacting the DC office ALOT. That seemed to work for some of the other volunteers. & of course, keep volunteering so you're still involved :) I know it's tough, but it'll all pay off soon! Have a great mid-west winter & enjoy the snow!