This Peace Corps worker, who lived in an Ecuadorian village, seems to understand the life of an invisible worker trying to do his part for humanity.
I’ve had days and weeks where these kind of feelings set in while living in West Africa. There are no words to explain the depth to which one can sink in some obscure place, where almost nothing we do is seen, heard, experienced, or understood by anyone “back home”. They honestly think they get it…. but you and I, the club of the long-term initiated, both know better.
It’s very different when one has almost no one who speaks your languge within hundreds of miles.
As an international humanitarian, it is a huge eye opening experience the day, and thankfully the day usually arrives early on, you realize, “I’m not certain I could live the life my people live every day of their existence.” These people have a fortitude that I thought I had, but must now confess I don’t.”
This is why I serve, their lives are very difficult in poverty. However, this is also the reason I must learn, from them, about what constitutes life. (Andy Rayner. The life of Invisibility)
I’ve come to believe one just has to live through these sinking times. Time seems to be about the only help to get one through to the other side. No cheap tricks, mind games, reasonings, rationalizations, prayers, words, rites or incantations help take the sinking feelings away.
It takes time….. but you take the time when you truly love a people……and are invested in them, and seeking to grow personally.
Good news. As one comes to terms with this new life, culture, and reality, these slumps grow infinitly rarer over the years. Well, at least not as deep and dark as in the beginning.
“During one six-week period when I was playing the role of Big Daddy, the Peace Corps Volunteer with the answers, the whole experience turned into a rout. Toward the end, instead of running all over comforting and advising people I was moping around the house ﬁnding deep and personal meanings in Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. I was hoping that someone would pick me up and gently rock me back and forth for a few hours.
What happened? It all began quietly- a time of vague depression, dissatisfaction, sadness, a neurotic apprehension. For one thing, I guess: I was beginning to get inside the town, becoming very emotionally involved with everything. For another, and mainly, I wasn’t eating very well. I was eating better than anyone in town, with imported tomatoes and bread from Esmeraldas; I had the money to buy a can of tuna ﬁsh every evening—that party food which was reserved for days of ﬁesta —and I was buying eggs, too. I was probably the only person in town who was eating eggs, … I knew what the trouble was, but I was unable to rationalize my way out of the situation, and life darkened day by day.” (Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)