You’re not a PCV until…

Everyone knows that you become a Peace Corps Volunteer when you swear the oath, but there are some unofficial milestones that each volunteer must reach in order to be a true PCV.

You’re not a PCV until you…

  • Take an overnight bus. It can be any bus to any destination, but most likely you’ll start the night excited for your holiday, and end the night deeply regretting every choice you’ve ever made.
  • Kill a bug with your bare hands. Bonus points if the bug is actually a snake and your bare hands are a stick.
  • Overdraft on your Peace Corps debit card. No one told you living expenses don’t cover alcohol!
  • “Accidentally” use 5 gigs of data in one month. Data goes quickly when a viral video is being passed through the cohort.
  • Wear a bathing suit as underwear in an effort to avoid hand washing. Anyone who has access to a washing machine and still complains about doing laundry should rot in laundry hell.
  • Reject a marriage proposal. It doesn’t matter how many cows the drunk man offers you, no means no!
  • Get stranded in the middle of nowhere because the taxi broke down. Sometimes “breaking down” actually means the door flew off while going 60km/h.
  • Call the Emergency Medical Phone with a non-emergency. Wait, mosquito bites aren’t a medical emergency?!
  • Better yet… DON’T call the Emergency Medical phone when you have an actual medical emergency. Sometimes you just want to have diarrhea without telling the whole world.
  • Finish a jar of peanut butter in an embarrassingly short amount of time. It’s not your fault peanut butter is a staple of your diet!
  • Get a local name. Be prepared to hear it shouted every time you walk down the street.
  • Attend a local wedding or funeral. You’re lucky if the ceremony doesn’t include sacrificing livestock. 
  • Spend all day in bed binge-watching a TV show. Sometimes life is just too much and you need to lock yourself away from the world.
  • Spend 30 minutes talking to a local and have no idea what the conversation is about. Lost in translation is a real thing and sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod.

What do you think are some unofficial Peace Corps milestones? Let me know in the comments!


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