Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Educators’ Insights on Culture Shock, Identity and Pedagogy
Interplay 2: Who Am I (Becoming)?
Who Am I (Becoming)?
“I am not,” she said tearfully, “a wart hog. From hell.” But the denial had no force.
Flannery O’Connor (1995) from Revelation
The first house I moved into looked like a cream-colored African adobe. Another house had been arranged for me by the Peace Corps but had been rented out to someone else before I arrived. The solution that was worked out (not by me) was for me to displace the landlord who had rented the first house to someone else, and he would move into the compound inhabited by his four wives. How awkward! The house had concrete floors and cinder block walls, a small living room, two smaller rooms, and a modern bathroom with a modern toilet and faucets—none of which worked. The toilet I had to use was a hole in the ground out back. For the water, I would have children gather it from the community foot-pump well for a few francs and then I would boil and filter it on my gas bottle stove. I had also brought a bed given to me by the Peace Corps (although they had given me the wrong bolts for it and it kept falling apart), a mosquito net, a medical kit, and the clothes and assorted junk I had brought from home. I had no furniture and no cookware. It took me probably all of 30 minutes to get moved in, and I...
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