“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

I am bereft. My Boston Globe did not come. I hunted all around the front yard and even under the car. I came inside and wept.

I wanted more than anything to be accepted to the Peace Corps. I had taken the language test the spring of my junior year then sent in my application in October of my senior year. I heard in January. I was over the moon.

The day I left Philadelphia for Ghana I remember standing outside the hotel waiting with everyone else to board a bus. The luggage was piled behind us. We were allowed 80 pounds so the pile was scalable. The Peace Corps had sent us all sorts of information including a suggested list of what we might want to pack. My mother and I took that list to heart and began shopping. The first purchase was luggage. I chose red. Even now I have one bag left from then. While I was in Ghana, I stored the luggage in my armoire because I didn’t need it. It got a bit of mold. We bought two sets of sheets, the suggested amount, two sets of towels and one giant bath towel. We went clothes shopping, all summer clothes. We also bought a couple of pairs of sandals. One lasted three rainstorms, the other all two years. We bought two years worth of toiletries and two years worth of underwear in assorted colors. What was difficult about all of this was we had no idea what we’d find in Ghana. Peace Corps gave us wonderful information about Ghanaian customs, government and schools but nothing super-useful, nothing about life between breakfast and bed. Keep in mind we’re talking pre-internet. We got books, brochures and ditto sheets with that familiar smell.

It didn’t take long after training to realize the best part of Peace Corps isn’t Peace Corps. It is just living every day because that’s what Peace Corps comes down to, just living your best life in a place you couldn’t imagine. It is living on your own in a village or at a school. It is teaching every day. It is shopping in the market every three days. It is taking joy in speaking the language you learned in training. It is wearing Ghanaian cloth dresses and relegating the clothes you brought with you to the moldy suitcases. It is loving people and a country with all of your heart from breakfast to bed and forever after. Peace Corps doesn’t tell you that part, the loving part, but I expect they know it will be there.

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2 Comments on ““Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    As I’ve said before and I will say it again. “Thank you for your service”. While our military ruined both South and North Vietnam, you and the other Peace Corps members globally did more to advance the spirit of America than anything else in the 1960s.

    Today, we were treated to a sunny day after a cloudy morning with a few sprinkles. The high reached a cool 60°. There’s a chance of some wintry precipitation next week.

    We just saw the latest Tom Hanks movie, “A Man Called Otto”. It was a very good love story and the acting of Mariana Treviño deserves an Oscar. Hanks was his usual terrific self. I enjoyed it very much.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Thank you. I really appreciate your thanks. I have a friend who served in the navy who says the same thing. He figures his life in the service was far easier than mine.

      Covid shut down Peace Corps, but it is coming back. The second training group for Ghana arrived this week while the first group was sworn in as volunteers. New countries of service open all the time. The Peace Corps is still the best buy for America’s bucks.

      It was cold and ugly all day. The rain returns tomorrow, but I’m fine with rain. Just keep the snow away!

      I want to see that movie. I’m glad you liked it.

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