Last week, at Staging in Philly, we were introduced to 32 strangers as our new “family” of fellow PCVs in Namibia Group 43. These are the men and women who I’ve come to know in our summer camp-like setting this week and to whom I am now inextricably linked for our term of service and beyond. On the eve of our move into the homes of our PST host families, I want to share a bit about my fellow PCVs. Who are these people? What type of folk have made the decision to spend a long time away from their partners, families, friends, jobs, schools, favorite restaurants and shops, high speed WiFi (or any internet access, or even electricity), hot showers (or any showers, or even running water), modern conveniences, leisure activities, popular musicians and actors, home sports teams, etc?
This isn’t a precise or authorized profile of our Group 43, but here’s what I’ve gleaned in our first week together:
- 33 people
- 21 women and 12 men
- 16 working in the Health sector, 17 in Community Economic Development (CED)
- Ages from 22-ish to late 50s (4 of us are older than 45)
- 4 are from CA, 4 from MA, none from NY, 1 from Norway (born to an American mom)
- Professionally, in the CED group, we have a couple of digital marketing specialists, an attorney, a real estate development CFO, a database consultant, a recent MBA from the University if Hawaii, and a Master’s in International Conflict Resolution amongst many other unique backgrounds.
- Amidst the special, personal items people brought to remind them of home were a French press, a volleyball, and 300 movies on a hard drive. I brought my darts.
- One has not been outside of the US before, and a couple others count Mexico and Canada as their previous foreign exposure.
- Some have thought about this move for years and a couple of them decided to apply 2 days before the deadline.
In terms of demeanor, I am reminded that we are a self-selected group. The hardships to date have been universally embraced so there is a lot of smiling and laughter. While we may not accurately represent the US in demographics, we certainly reflect a good cross-section of our country. It’s America, putting its best face forward.