The following thoughts were taken from a blog of another RPCV and changed to reflect our experiences in Georgia. You can read their exceptional blog at: http://jeddandmichelle.com/
Practical Ways You Can Help a Returnee
- Don’t expect everything to be exactly the same Returning home “should” feel comfortable for RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers). But in reality, it might not. Because we may not even realize how much we’ve changed on the inside, Returned Volunteers may feel conflicted or confused even when things are familiar. We will be seeing our former life from a different vantage point, good and/or bad.
- Support us by showing interest Whether you see it or not, we’ll be processing the experiences we’ve had in Peace Corps for a long time coming. It’s a huge part of our lives that we don’t want to forget or minimize. If you do want to hear about our experiences, it can help to carve out a time and space to really talk. But we don’t have to sit down and hash it all out at once. Ask genuine questions that you’re curious about, as you think of them. Or, just hang around and our stories will come out naturally in conversations. However it happens, we’ll definitely appreciate your interest.
- Please try to ask specific questions It’s basically impossible to answer the question, “How was it?” As our friends put it so well, this is as good as you’re going to get: “There were some really awesome parts, but honestly, there were some really awful parts. Most days were something in between.” Could you sum up the last two years of your life on the spot? Again, if there’s something in particular that you’re truly curious about, ask. (What kind of resources do the teachers have access to in Georgia? What are the most common meals people eat? What was your house/host family like?) If you don’t know where to start, ask to see a few of our videos/pictures they’re a short and sweet way to share an overview of our experiences with you.
- Include us We’ve lived apart for 26 months. And we have greatly missed our family and friends. You will definitely make home feel like home again! But be aware that we don’t know what our future holds except that our first priority is too connect with family all over the U.S. We have been each other’s main support for this journey and now we are delighted to reach out to all of you and support one another in new ways.