“I came into my Peace Corps site ready to change it—but instead, it changed me.” I heard this refrain from way too many Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) before heading off to Morocco. I thought I was so self-aware by contrast, with no illusions of an ability to save anyone or change anything during my time here.
I was determined not to take after “savior Barbie” or be fooled by the “Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems.” I was primarily driven, like most other PCVs, not by the desire to improve Morocco, but rather, the desire to improve myself so I could be a better person and professional afterwards. I thought I had hacked Peace Corps, and I wondered what I had left to learn over two years.
But the joke’s on me. Knowing and understanding are two different things, and the conclusions I thought I had so cleverly reached back in DC were just some words I knew. Indeed, with 24 months down and just two more to go, I still have so much left to learn.
As the Jewish and Islamic New Year ends and Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of forgiveness approaches, I am coming to realize that this learning can’t happen until I recognize my mistakes and forgive myself for them. Even if I can already verbalize what I need to learn, true understanding won’t be evident in my blog but rather in my behaviors, feelings, and daily interactions.
My name is Julie, in Turkish it's Jülide. Right now I'm serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, and I'll write my thoughts here!