Hippies and housewives
Apparently the Peace Corps allows more “mature” ladies to only serve in the few countries where Pap Smear and breast consultations are readily available. Apparently Armenia is one of those countries. Long story short, our group is teaming with 65 year old, busy-bodied ladies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (see Seinfeld season 2) but I must admit I’m surprised. In no way is this bad, as I have under-packed and plan on shamelessly throwing myself upon their maternal mercy whenever necessary. I’m assuming that at least some of them have retained a healthy sense of their now retired motherly instincts. Beyond “the ladies”, I find myself surrounded by idealistic, overly excited recent college graduates. It appears that both the Portland Oregon and Portland Maine school districts do quite a job imbuing their pupils with a healthy sense of idealism and adventurousness, as most of my group is originally from one of those two locals.
Training has been an interesting mix of fuzzy feel-good thinking, team-building exercises and governmental red-tape. As we wade through learning vignettes like the “pyramid of safety” and spend an inordinate amount of time drawing pictures about both our fears and aspirations I realize that I may be a bit out of place. Many of “the ladies” are former elementary school teachers, and as one might imagine the all-stars of the team drawing exercises. I would probably be considered more of a third stringer. I never owned a pair of hiking boots, a tent or a VW bus before I came here, nor am I from either of the Portlands, nor do I need or desire Pap Smear and/or Breast Exams. I don’t even know what a Pap Smear is. I may well be screwed.