The lack of structure is both terrifying and liberating. I’m not used to blogging my hand (I wrote this and all the following posts in a big lined notebook), but this is how it’s going to be. When I signed up for Madagascar, it’s true that I had no idea what I was in for. I had ideas of my own, based on past experiences. Comparison is the thief of joy. Was it Shakespeare who said that? Anyway, I believe it. I’ve been constantly humbled every day, every moment, by how little I understand and how small I truly am. But most of all, I am constantly surprised by how incapable I feel–the skills I’ve learned in my life, the things I put on my resume when I applied to Peace Corps, the things I thought made me who I am, seem completely irrelevant out here. Maybe they never will be…at least not in the way I expected. Share your skills, adapt them and learn new skills as needed. That’s one of our Core Expectations as volunteers.
I define myself by my successes and my failures in my work. I measure my life and my worth that way; I always have. It seems that in America, people are only as good as the things or ideas they produce. This, admittedly, is one reason I feel the need to continue blogging. I feel the constant need to have my ideas heard and listened to and criticized and critiqued and challenged. That is how I am used to functioning in the world.
But imagine a place where your value is not questioned or measured against your productivity, a place where you exist, you are acknowledged, and therefore—you belong.
Welcome to Madagascar.