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Fit to Serve-Half and One Literary

We can try to tell a story. We can think for years a story will never have a listener. It took fifteen years for this essay to be accepted, and it's still relevant, especially to me.


**Photo credit--Illustration by Nicole Kharjana


I sat up straight during the taxi ride through Guatemala City.  I leaned forward onto my rounded backpack, never against the car window as I had before I had mailed the Peace Corps application in the grocery store parking lot.  For months, thick dust and smoke had been the usual travel companions.  Water, rain specifically, was worse.  One week ago, I had followed government protocol in a hurricane that caused a national state of emergency.  Or, I ran away.

This had to be a crazy dream, me, who never really wanted to go anywhere, taking on a project like this so far away and unrelated to teaching in everyone else’s opinion.  Moving towards that goal or gray humid exhaust caused the same sensation.  Nausea.   My feet had winced against while clumping through rubble laced mud up to my knees.  I could still turn around, but I hadn’t turned back in a week.  No, six months.  Maybe one year.  Actually, fifteen years when I had decided I wanted to be a teacher.

The first requirement of Peace Corps service in country had been an aspiration statement.  “What do you expect from Guatemala?” the blank piece of paper had prompted. 

My goal is actually quite simple, to feel as though I have done everything I possibly can to be an effective teacher.  That is why I am here.”  



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