I am a great Peace Corps groupie, possibly the best. I use the lingo, I complain about the rules, I go on most of the group excursions, I've called David to let him know I'd be sleeping out of site, and I'm pretty sure there are at least 10 PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) that think I'm one myself.
As I reflect upon two years in Guatemala, it's hard to take Peace Corps out of the picture. In fact, I owe a few veterans a lot. Many had a hand in the creation of what is now MPI Guatemala in one way or another. We currently use Peace Corps programmatic materials & lesson plans, we've borrowed presentations and handouts, heck, several of their volunteers have actually helped teach our programs from time to time. During my two month feasibility trip in 2010, I had several meetings with PCVs to talk about possible sites and MPI's mission on the ground. They donated their time, wisdom, and community development expertise--some even offering their homes and communities as case studies (Thanks Kiki & Phil!). Beyond the work context, I have often found sanity and comfort within the Peace Corps bubble.
Peace Corps HQ decided last month to halve the number of volunteers on the ground for safety/liability reasons. They will not bring new PCVs into the country in 2012, and are pushing up the veteran group's end date by 3 months, to March 24th.
So, in a few days, the last of the PCVs that helped build MPIG from a mere idea will leave the country and most will return to the US. I myself am planning my imminent departure from Guatemala this summer and as I am forced, like many PCVs, to begin the task of placing this experience in the past, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Peace Corps Guatemala and all its volunteers over the past 2+ years that have helped shape MPIG and my experience in Guatemala.
I love and appreciate all of you, yes, even you, Tony.