Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Goat In The Middle Of The Road ...

As I travel, I met quite a few people, some friends of friends, some old college friends and sorority sisters, and some who were perfect strangers. All of these people have experiences in their lives that vastly differs from one another. Some lived in the countries that I visited, others are travelers for two weeks' vacation, some are in the country for work related reasons, and still others took six months or so off work to travel the world.

I had realized that fact when I saw a new friend stop to gawk at a goat in the middle of the road. I turned to look at this friend snap photos of this goat. I stopped myself from asking why the photos were being taken - I remember the first time I saw a goat walking down the road in Loitokitok over two years ago, and my reaction. I don't remember exactly when that became a daily thing for me, but definitely not long after I saw that first goat.

This friend came to me and gushed, "Isn't that the cutest goat ever?" I thought - this is one of the first tests of the numerous conversation that may relate to my two years' service. Should I be brutally honest and say that the goat looks just the right size to be slaughtered, and possibly would be eaten next week? Should I just off-hand mention that it's usually a normal occurrence in developing countries to have animals patrol the streets? Should I use that as a doorway to my experiences as a PCV in Kenya, to start a conversation that the other person probably doesn't want about the experience that was both hard and incredible for me? Or, should I just say, yeah, that goat is cute, and leave it at that?

My friend waited for a response, and I sensed that standing in the middle of the road wasn't the perfect time to begin a conversation of that degree, and I looked at my friend, who didn't look like someone who was ready to delve into the philosophy and ideals of aid to developing countries, so I took the easy way out, and said, yeah cute goat.

So, my life in the past two years vastly differs from the majority of the western world - I had lived in a developing country, and I am grateful for my travels as I meet various people and throughout this process figured out how to talk about my service so that I feel good about it, and not burdening people that aren't all that interested in it.

All because a goat decided to cross the street.


This blog consists of my personal thoughts and opinions. It does not in any way reflect the position of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.