The New Normal- A Little Life Reflection

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What is normal anyway?

Every day, I am surrounded by things people back home , and most places  in the developed world for that matter, would consider, well,  abnormal.  Riding donkey carts, sweeping dirt, and pooping in a hole are not activities, before coming here I would have regularly subjected too. I just came back from the most amazing trip in Morocco, where I loved the food, cleanliness and culture,  where most of the country would seem like a shock to westerners,  things were much better than here. 

People go on vacation to relax and see new sights, but as one friend of mine pointed out, I went on vacation to experience ‘anything but here’ and exhaust myself physically.  Hiking Mt. Toubkal was one of the best things I have done in the last few years, and even though I was not on the trip alone, I had copious hours of silence and scenery to think about how ‘normal’ all this has become. While being here and living the way I do is tiring, it seems that places that are more developed are even more tiring. 

Imlil Valley


On the trail

But just ask quick as it has come, this will all disappear. Soon, I will no longer be a Peace Corps volunteer, and one day, Senegal will have good roads, educated citizens, and long lifespans; compared to most in Africa, they are well on their way already. I spend every last ounce of my energy, essentially, hoping that one day, someone won’t have a job like mine to do, and if they do, it won’t be some overeducated white person doing it, but another African wanting to serve.
Yet, looking at my range of decidedly abnormal activities, I know that living a life outside of this new norm is not something I want. While real aid workers are much better paid living in better circumstances, they still choose to go to the worst  places on earth, and see the best. They work hard to eradicate the need for the very reasons of which their positions were created (in most cases).  Judging by the barrage of emails about jobs and fellowships, putting oneself out of business is good business.

Celebrating the summit, 4,900 Meters
I’ve never been an average Joe, and choosing to live this life, reassures me that I will never have to be.


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