A litany for Peace Corps


Aguacete de Jacagua
Santiago, RD
8 Noviembre 2001

Lord, forgive me my sins. I am a sinner, an evil, evil person despite all my intentions of good. I have tried to serve everyone, I have tried to live up to my beliefs, and I have failed.

I want quiet but find none, I look to myself for peace, but I am troubled. Help me, for crying aloud! What’s the problem, Mister? What is it that I’ve got wrong?

I went up to see J and told her the truth, or my truth, which is that she complains too much and has an aggressive conversational style. She was angry, of course.

What I know is that I got up this morning and I don’t know why I was breathing or able to walk around. Best I could figure out, it was some sort of amazing gift, and the best thing I could figure I could do to show my gratitude was to be a help instead of a nuisance to everyone in my life.

And did I manage to be a help instead of a nuisance? Did I deserve to be alive today? On the balance, I’d say “No.” I don’t see that I added much worthwhile to the lives I touched and I certainly think I hurt J badly.

I’m not sure what it is I’ve ever done useful for other people in my life. Have I ever done anything worthwhile? This woman thinks I hate her. Whatever I did so she’d think such a thing is evil and a great sin committed by me against her. If I can’t be useful, why bother living at all? Why not just move in with my parents and drink a lot of beer. Fuck it– at least that way the guy who sells beer will gain something.

This is a review of my personal journal from my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in 2001-2003. Even if I feel differently now or found out later that I what I wrote was factually incorrect, I haven’t changed what I wrote then. Part of the joy of reading old journals is seeing a story arc where I’ve learned new things.

Names have been shortened to initials to provide some privacy. Even though those who were there may be able to use these initials to figure out who I wrote about, please remember that my journaling is not about other people or their experience.