Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Adventures of the Peace Corps Car

One of my responsibilities as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader this year is PCV support – which means going out to where they are to check out their housing, teaching, as well as a plethora of other administrative issues.

In the Chimoio office, I work with Osvaldo, who’s in charge of housing, and Ofelio, who’s in charge of the central region and developing the food security program. So every once in a while, we’ll load up the PC car super early and take off to visit the sites in the Middle of Nowhere, Mozambique.

I get to poke around PCV houses.

I get to see them at work in the classroom.

I get to take tours of their villages and meet their "families."

I get to ask them lots of questions and fill out lots of paperwork.

Mainly, I get to sit and chit chat with some people who rarely if ever receive English-speaking visitors and just see what I can do to make their lives a little easier, be it bring them a package that’s been sitting in the office for a month or check on the possibility of PC funding a new latrine because the current one’s almost full.

But going into the bush, even in a swanky white 4x4 with air conditioning, isn’t without its risks. Like when we were getting ready to leave and discovered that we’d accidentally parked on top of an old latrine hole that promptly gave way under our back tire and we had to have a tractor pull us out.

Or when we went to put grates on the house of two PCVs who live in a site without electricity. And then discovered the generator wasn’t powerful enough to power the welding tool. And that the second, bigger, generator wasn’t working. And then it started to rain. And then the PC car refused to start, and the nearest other car was a seven-kilometer walk away in the city. Along with the town’s one mechanic. Who spent a couple hours trying to figure out what the problem was.

This is why, as much as I might love these guys, I would probably never visit them were it not for the PC car.

 But it’s quality bonding time with other PCVs, Ofelio and Osvaldo. And since I'm living the high life in a big city now, it's a nice little reminder of what real life is like for the rest of the country I call home.

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