Fight or Flight?

I would be lying if I said I’ve loved every minute of every day of being a Peace Corps volunteer. And I would be lying if I told you that I don’t seriously consider abandoning this journey in search of greener pastures on a semi-regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many wonderful things about the Peace Corps, and about the Caribbean and St Vincent, but there is also a list of challenges equally as long to match. Lately these struggles have been getting the better of me and every day I find myself questioning what I’m learning from the challenges I face.

For almost two years now I’ve lived in a village over an hour’s van ride from Kingstown, in a rural fishing community nowadays best known for being the hub of SVG’s … “alternative agriculturalists.” It’s basically as far away as you can get from the cultural epicenter of St Vincent on this side of the island, and the van ride is NOT easy. Whenever I’d meet someone in town and tell them where I live, the response is always astoundingly consistent. “Oh, that’s so far,” they’d tell me, with a look of surprise/confusion on their faces. At an event I attended a few months into my service I met an American ex-pat who’d been living here for some years and I asked her why I always received such a response. Very few people who live near town ever go all the way down to Chateau, is what she told me. Plus, she added, they’re probably also wondering if you work on a ganja farm.

As soon as I got here I knew my post was going to be a major lesson in patience and learning to sit still in one place for a while – a cruel joke to a compulsive wanderer! But I’ve managed to have experienced periods throughout when I’ve felt deeply connected to my community, stable and secure here working in multiple projects simultaneously and spending the majority of my time around the village. So much can be learned from living in a place like this, so radically different from where I was raised. The limited resources, the family connections, the local rumor mill… it can teach a person so much about community living within the means of what’s available to us. But the wanderer in me still remained and it’s this side of myself that’s felt incredibly cut off from a lot of other learning opportunities St Vincent has to offer. By mere nature of where I live and the limited transportation, I quite often feel unfulfilled on many different levels, seeking intellectual conversation and yearning to surround myself with beings whose energetic vibrations ignite positivity and inspiration…

It’s no wonder why most of my secondary projects have been outside of my community, around town and at the college. Creating spaces and linking with other sensitive individuals who share a mission to heighten awareness and expand our collective consciousness – for this I’ve gladly suffered through many a loud, sweaty, spine bending, roller coaster van ride, for making those connections are what’s kept me afloat here.

With five months left, I question daily what my purpose is in the time that remains, and the wanderer inside is anticipating the impending transition with some anxiety. Five months to some may seem like nothing, but my inner restlessness is speaking loud and clear – How much longer do we have to stay?

But with no idea yet where to wander off to next, patience and stillness again are the lessons to which we return, continuing to question and reflect on what will be of most service to us and those around us.

So until we settle on a new place to flee, it’s back to fight the good fight for now. At least the view’s not so bad…

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    May 25, 2012 @ 07:58:44

    Camille that brought tears to my eyes as I really understand how you are feeling as our beautiful Island can be a real challenge at times. Although we only meet a couple of times I really felt your spirit and I will miss you as will everyone else for the great work you have done here.
    We both share a love of yoga, I have not made it to class lately but I will catch up with you.
    x

    Reply

    • Camille
      May 28, 2012 @ 22:31:45

      Jennifer I have felt your presence and spirit, and in your artwork which adds beauty to our shared island home. Thank you for generously bestowing your gifts and talents for us to enjoy and be inspired by. I always cherish the days we do meet 🙂 lots of love xxxx

      Reply

  2. Toussaint Hill
    May 25, 2012 @ 09:43:53

    Great post, while I was living in Sandy Bay I experienced many of the same emotions. I also regularly wrestled with the thought of leaving early, but hang in there your almost done.

    Reply

    • Camille
      May 28, 2012 @ 22:42:06

      Yes Toussaint, these remote rural villages can feel extremely isolating, adding to the challenges that already exist for us here. The responsibility of learning what we can from our emotions belongs to each of us individually, but the shared difficulties can help reveal shared insights which in turn can bring clarity to and guide our personal choices.

      Reply

  3. Jamillah
    May 25, 2012 @ 11:41:59

    Challenges abound. With every second, every minute, every hour, every day you get closer and closer to your future. This too shall past!

    Reply

    • Camille
      May 28, 2012 @ 22:49:00

      So grateful for your wisdom shared as it is truth revealed through growing from challenges to which many can relate. Time is fleeting, as are our feelings of frustration, pain and suffering! You give me strength sister!!

      Reply

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