If I’m a total stranger to you, let me first introduce myself. My name is Melanie, I’ve recently graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Nutrition and I will be moving to Guyana to serve with the Peace Corps.
Guyana, if you didn’t know already, is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America, squeezed between Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil. If you thought Guyana was in Africa, don’t worry, you’re not the first to think so. On one side there’s the Atlantic Ocean, on the other is the Amazon, and in between there are wild creatures, beautiful people, massive jungles, long rivers, and giant waterfalls that fill the land. For the next 27 months, this is will be my home.
As a Peace Corps Health Volunteer, my work will be focused on promoting community health either in a hospital, health clinic, or school—and perhaps, a mix of them all–to improve preventative care against global diseases. It sounds really vague, but I won’t know exactly where I’ll be staying or what I’ll be doing in Guyana until after my Pre-Service Training. For the first three months, I’ll be staying with a temporary host family and will be learning about safety and security, culture, language, and how to make the most of my two years here. Once PST is complete, I will move to my permanent site and my service will officially begin.
As I reflect on my life up to this moment, I can think of a lot of reasons for why I applied for the Peace Corps, but it ultimately came down to one thing: I wanted to know how the person I’ve become and the things I’ve experienced could help and heal people in need. I didn’t feel at all qualified, but I just wanted to find a way to share the things I have, to give more. In a million ways, God has shown me that living a meaningful life isn’t limited by our circumstances, nor is it limited to the few. It belongs to each of us–rich, poor, and in between–and I hope to spend the rest of my life telling that to as many people as I can.
Soon, I will board my flight to Philadelphia and then to Guyana. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m in total disbelief, but I’m ready (my suitcases, not so much). I remember when this was just a silly, distant dream of mine and now, it suddenly feels real.
If you’re ever wondering what I’m doing in the Peace Corps, this is going to be the place to find out. This blog will remain what it’s always been (since I’ve had it for years), but there will be a greater focus on my life in Guyana. I feel thankful and honored to share this part of my life with you.
If you wish to receive email updates for when I write from Guyana, please subscribe to my blog. I hope that you’ll find my writing entertaining, comforting, and helpful as this story continues to unfold–stay tuned!
Peace Corps Health Volunteer