Wednesday, August 21, 2013

HELLO, PEACE CORPS MOMENT


In continuing with this week's wedding theme, here's a little anecdote of a total Peace Corps moment - those moments where you really, truly, completely unironically understand your purpose here.

In PST, one of the things my host father did that shocked me and disturbed me (besides getting his feet rubbed by the 9-year-old neighbor girl, my buddy Klerida, or giving his 2-year-old grandson a cigarette to play with) was when he asked me if I would ever marry a Black man. I told him, of course - skin color doesn't matter, it's what's inside that counts, all the usual, but totally true, cliches - and he freaked out. "No no no!" He stated emphatically in shqip, "White goes with white and black goes with black. I'm not racist. But white goes with white and black goes with black."

I mean, at that point I'd known the man for less than a month, and not only did he want a say in whom I marry, an invitation to the wedding, and rights to nix any match, he suddenly needed to make a comment about race? WTactualF.

BUT - and this is a huge but - as I was saying goodbye to everyone on Thursday, he suddenly had a great idea. "Ask her if she'll marry a Black man!" he said eagerly, as if my answer would be entertaining and shocking for the group. They did, I answered my usual answer (a little more emphatically than usual, seeing as, really? Were we really covering this again?), and then my host father said something that gave me goosebumps:

"Isn't she great? She's not racist! She likes everyone! She's a good person! I'm so proud of her!"

3 comments:

  1. Wow Mary, This is a warm fuzzy. You are a great person and I am also so proud of you. And it is very true - you like everyone. XO Mom

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  2. Hello Mary - My name is Mike an I've been nominated to Albania - teacher trainer. I leave in March15, so I'm a ways off. But I am glad you are posting your random encounters so that I can read about them. I lived in Costa Rica for 3 years and I remember thinking that there would be less racism there than in the USA, but it seem that I was so wrong. It really gave me insight into how open the USA really is despite the problems that persist. Reading your post helps me understand that, even though we still have the journey to travel, at least we've started along the path even when others might not even be ready to leave.

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  3. What a deep comment, Michael! You're so right. It's a slow process, but attitudes change by the day. Looking forward to meeting you...in 9 months!

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