Sunday, September 7, 2008

My bravest friends :)

Melissa and I at the Caribbean Sea

I'm reveling in the comfort of my lovely little apartment this morning, complete with running water and electricity that I can count on to allow me to finish this blog without any interruptions--a bit of a stone's throw from where I was last week at this time.

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Melissa and to get to experience a part of what she has been living for the last year and a half in a town called Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic. And I really hand it to her and all the other brave souls in the world who dedicate two years of their lives, leaving the comforts, luxuries and familiarity of home to go live with and work with developing communities in different developing nations all over the world.

I always knew it took a special type of person to serve in the Peace corps, but it wasn't until my visit that I really understood what that meant. Visiting Melissa was a bit of a reality check. It's so easy to romanticize the idea of serving in the Peace Corps and to push out of your mind the difficult day to day realities that the volunteers face; scarcity of running water, unstable electricity, loneliness, working with a group of people with a different set of business values, just to name a few.

I cannot tell you how many moments I was inspired on this trip by Melissa and Iosefa's mental strength, bravery, optimism, flexibility and resourcefulness. They have both taken less than ideal living and working situations and truly made the most of them. I can't imagine that much will phase them in life from here on out. Melissa and Iosefa are both definitely the special type of people that it takes to serve in the Peace Corps.

As I was leaving I told Melissa that she was one of those people who I feel makes me a better person, or at least makes me want to work to be a better person. And that's the truth- she is someone who makes me want to be less fearful, more forgiving and more appreciative and I feel very lucky to have someone like her in my life.

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