Three Weeks from Peru
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, August 20th, 2010
It was inevitable. Somewhere during the course of this NPCA road trip, we’d connect with an RPCV just back from service.
Meet Zach Jeremiah, three weeks back home after two years as a small business volunteer in the community of Madrigal, Arequipa Department, in the southern Andes of Peru.
Attending NPCA’s Coffee and Conversation get together in Peoria, Zach says a commitment to serve others through Peace Corps won out two years ago over another interesting possibility. Zach accepted Peace Corps service over an internship with the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
There are no regrets. “(Peace Corps) was a great experience. It was definitely the most interesting and rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
Going overseas certainly had its challenges. For example, living at 10,000 feet in a dwelling with no indoor heating took some getting used to. But Zach offered sage advice that has no doubt sustained many volunteers over the past half-century: “If you approach your service with an open mind and a sense of adventure, you adjust.”
The reverse culture shock upon returning home is another matter.
Zach says he has a lot of processing to do. “I haven’t yet had time to sit down and really examine what the Peace Corps experience has been for me.” Much of that has to do with the pace of life and the “basics” of life in the U.S. “There is so much to do attached with living here – getting a cell phone, finding a place to live, finding a job, getting a car, getting insurance.”
Zach is looking forward to being back home and reconnecting with family and friends. But a return overseas is not too far off in the future. He hasn’t ruled out going back to Peru in a long-term capacity. A teaching assignment next year in South Korea is also in his plans.