It is fitting that, August 7, the day after the anniversary of the first use of the atomic bomb in warfare over Hiroshima in 1945, is my departure for my second Peace Corps service almost 50 years after my first.
My thoughts turned to the next phase of my adventure in living a couple of years ago as my 70th Birthday began to creep up on the horizon. As a kid growing up in Denver I had hardly known any septuagenarians and for sure none I knew had the health to contemplate relaunching and I dare say would not have relished starting at an entry level activity if they had.
Conscription legislation and the Vietnam War provided a growth medium for me that is nearly unduplicatable today although similar combinations or actual experience waging, or feeling the effects of war waged, has been the crucible that has produced countless War haters for millennia. As for me, it was the medium for deep reflection and ultimately appreciation for the lasting value of non-violence and the utter lack of faith in violence and war as an acceptable option. And it led to my first round of Peace Corps service in South Korea, a life changing experience.
Now looking out with a sense of a graduate degree holder in life, I began to realize that I have not figured out what would lead our humanity to lasting peace and I was running out of time. I considered relaunching into a much belated gap year to hunt down the truth I seek, but consulting with my partner Jay I decided instead on a simple course of action in the name of Peace. I’d done it before, so I knew the cultural training was impeccable and frankly the caliber of comrades couldn’t be beat. Plus, the service fits well with my other volunteer service love, Rotary International – the only major service organization that puts Peace as its primary objective.
Happily, the American Airlines flight was on-time departing and early arriving which placed me at our Miami staging site in time. After a difficult couple of last minute assurances required by Peace Corps (Have you renounced your citizenship, gotten married, or committed any crimes?), I signed in as a member of Peace Corps’s newest training group – Nicaragua 70.
Cheerful greetings by our Peace Corps staff and a small sea of excited faces combined to make an exceptional beginning. Will it stimulate the life changes of Peace Corps first time around? I’m open to that but that is not what I seek.
What I am sure of is that I will have an opportunity to provide some useful service while I indulge my deepest pleasure seeking in learning a new version of human culture and language expression.