Somewhere around the first or second week of February, I received an unexpected phone call from my Program Manager, Valentino. His question for me was “do I want to be a tv star?” At first I was a bit confused, and giggled “sure!” He then further explained that as part of the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary celebration in Belize, a local morning show would be filming a segment on the day in the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer. I believe that my selection has nothing to do with my amazing personality, rather more to do with the fact that I lived in a village in close proximity to Belize City. The film crew was scheduled to come out the following week.
Since I had returned from my Christmas vacation in the States, I had been tutoring some of the local school children typing on my old laptop that I had brought down especially for this project. Most of the children were excited to get the opportunity to use a computer, but I could tell that their enthusiasm diminished with the non-exciting task of typing asdfjkl; over and over again (to be fair I download Internet typing games to supplement the lessons!) The day before my scheduled interview, I received word from the local primary school teacher – via a third party – that the appreciated my time with the students, but they no longer wanted me to work with them, citing allegations against me that were untrue or taken completely out of context. Anyone who knows me, knows how sensitive I can be, and this hit me harder than anything else. Here I am, giving up two years of my life to work in Belize, and at that moment I felt unwanted and like a complete failure. I began to seriously question whether I had it in me to finish out my service, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I had quit. Loneliness was immediately added to the mix of feelings, as I realized that I had no true confidant around to express my feelings. And although I normally call my parents when things go wrong, I felt it may be best not to worry them and wait until I became a little less… hysterical.
All the day before I had to go on Belizean national television and proclaim how wonderful Belize it, and how welcoming the people have been.
And it’s true. Belize is wonderful, and the people in my village have been very gracious and kind towards me, but I just wasn’t feeling it that day. But I put on my big girl panties and tried to get over any hurt feeling and resentment I felt. I got through the interview like a champ, and I hope I represented Peace Corps Belize to their satisfaction. The following day I decided to go spend the weekend with some of my friends up north. This helped with my mental clarity more than any other possible conversation I could have had. Two of my friends had gone through difficult periods, where their primary projects did not work out, and had to find different organizations or schools to work with. It made me realize that I am not alone in this, and that it’s best to seek support from those that truly understand how difficult it can be here. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate all the support from family and friends back home. On the contrary, I’ve received some of the best advice and pep-talks, but until you live this life, no one can truly know what it’s like.
Thankfully, my life has readjusted and I’ve decided to just take it day by day. Everyone is allowed to have a bad day every once in a while. If I’ve managed to have only one really bad day since I’ve arrived in Belize, I’d have to say I’m living a pretty good life.
Without further adieu, my 15 minutes of fame (I come in at about the 45 minute mark, but if you watch the whole thing you get to see some pretty amazing Belizean commercials!) http://vimeo.com/channels/78545#20533529