It’s funny how when you have very little control over what you’re doing at any given time, you tend to fixate on the smallest things. This week, the highlight that everyone was looking forward to was our site placement interview, which is where we talked briefly with a PC staff member about what characteristics we’d like to see in our final site.
Matt and I spent a lot of time preparing what we’d say during our interview. Do we want to live in a cold climate or a hot one? Do we want to live in the desert or in the mountains? A big city or a more rural area? Do we want to work with women, older kids or young children? Never mind that basically everywhere in Morocco gets very cold in the winter AND very hot in the summer, or that no one has control over the age of the kids that come to Dar Chebab, or that when we initially applied to the Peace Corps, we could have gone almost ANYWHERE in the world. At this moment in time, what we want in our final site seems like the most important thing that’s happened to us since we got here.
But of course this is the Peace Corps, and what we want in our final site is not necessarily related at all to what we’ll get in our final site. We can say we’d like to be in the mountains until we’re blue in the face, but in the end that’s just a preference, not a medical necessity or something that will affect our ability to serve effectively. If it works out, PC will place us in a site that includes some of our preferences, but if it doesn’t work out, they won’t. They have to place 97 people all over Morocco in the next 2 weeks, and whether or not we’d like to be in the mountains really doesn’t carry that much weight.
Looking at the big picture, it seems a little ridiculous that we put so much preparation into it. But considering the biggest decisions we make on a daily basis are what to order at the café when we have class there and what to write about for our Darija homework, this was something that at least seemed to be more important. But in the end, we have to look at the advice the current PCVs are giving us: when they were placed in their sites, some of them got exactly what they asked for and hated it initially, and some of them got the opposite of what they asked for and ended up loving it. What ends up being important is the fact that wherever you end up is YOUR site, and the way you develop it and the activities that you build are what make it yours, not the size or the geography or the weather. Almost all of the current PCVs love their sites now, because after a year they feel at home there, and that’s all that matters.
I suppose we’ll have to come back to this advice in a year and see how accurate it is. For now, all we can do is wait anxiously for the next two weeks until we finally get to find out where our home will be for the next two years. That’s the pressing question at the moment – fin? fin? fin!?
Cori and Matt