It is said the Peace Corps is where people go to find themselves. Yet, I know where I am. In terms of geography, I am on the southern side of the Atlas Mountains. It is the dry temperate of the rocky desert without succumbing to the dunes of the Sahara. Where I am is several hours away from the Algerian border, located in the developing suburbs of a larger city of around 95,000 people.
By bus, it takes about fifteen minutes to reach my current house from the city center. Once outside the city, the apartment buildings and storefronts give way to the great spread of the Atlas Mountains to the left and the smaller and more rural homes to the right. It is in one of these small, quiet homes that I live with my host brother, host mother, and host father. There are two small bedrooms, a salon, and an open space that connects to the kitchen and the turk toilet room. Currently, it is fall, so the weather is a comfortable seventy degrees. Still, flies swarm everything. These flying devils even lack a basic understanding of privacy; I try and fail every time to ignore the numerous flies crawling on me as I use the turk. Come summer, the heat and the flies will increase exponentially.
Currently, I am in my host brother’s room, which he kindly allows me to use during my week visit. This is where I find myself. I am surrounded by beauty and the kindness of strangers. Here I am though, considering all of these things and feelings, overwhelmed.
I am here, and I love it. The brisk cool mornings and chilly cold nights remind me of home during fall. Having mountains and desert surround me keeps me in a state of awe. Behind my host family’s house sits the ruins of the old city from 1574, left to inspire and to decay. Meeting the eyes of strangers and having them greet me warms my heart at the openness of my neighbors. Here I am, far from fitting in, and I still love it. I love it. I love it. I love it.
Still, I have questions that are too big to answer. Even now, the morning cool and my stomach full, I have these questions that pull at me. The problem isn’t that the questions are unanswerable. Rather, the questions have a plethora of answers. Each answer is dependent on a circumstance, and each circumstance is a happy one. This is the reality of my Peace Corps training and service at large. Even two months in, I feel the pull of desires keenly. I don’t know which answer will be the correct one, but an answer is needed in order to follow it down its path.
This is my predicament of finding myself, or maybe a version of myself, all too soon. I find myself sitting in my host brother’s room, window open, and flies buzzing with questions too big to answer right now.
Keep on keeping on,