More Than a Job

A Volunteer explains how a foreign country can feel like home.

Vocabulary:

Bachata: a Latino genre of music popular in the Dominican Republic

Guandules: peas, a ubiquitous side dish for almost every meal

Beisbol: baseball


By David Corby - Peace Corps Volunteer, Dominican Republic (2014 - 2016)

It’s not what’s in the job description-it’s what isn’t.

It’s the bachata playing at all hours of the day, willed to life by an electricity grid that’s always one step away from breaking your dance routine. The rhythm left in your feet navigates you through the day, even when the music can’t go along for the ride.

It’s the plastic chair conversations that create a living history of writers with hands busy holding guandules instead of pens and tending children instead of computers.

It’s the cadenced slap of dominoes against a wooden table that has lived through the difficult years yet continues to support smiles like beisbol supports dreams.

It’s the people you’ve never met who somehow still feel like your relatives, the people who invite you in for café before you’ve even had a chance to introduce your name.

It’s the feeling that even when you feel far from home, your home is sitting right there in front of you-it just sounds a little bit different than you remember. 


This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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