A Day in the Life

Often, I’m asked what I do as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I always try to answer as honestly and fully as possible since there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the Peace Corps. Some think that the Peace Corps is a glorified vacation or that it is filled with unqualified, idealistic, young people who are putting off going to work.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “No generalization is wholly true, not even this one.”

Sure, like any large organization, you’re going to find people of all different stripes. All I can do is speak to my experience, which happens to be very different than the assumptions listed above. In the spirit of showing not telling, I am going to give you a glimpse into what a typical day in my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer looks like so you can decide if it sounds like a glorified vacation.

Enjoy, Mari


Tuesday, July 31

It’s hard not to smile when you wake up to this!


7:00 – 8:00

  • Woke up and checked if there was power and internet. There was! So, I checked my email, read a bit of news, played a game and then made a To Do List for the day.
  • Put water on stove for bucket baths (we don’t have hot water and it’s our winter right now) and for making tea/breakfast.
  • Made breakfast.
  • Woke Paul up.

8:00 – 9:00

  • Ate breakfast and took bucket bath.
  • Made piles of Mujeres Cambia jewelry we would be sending later that day, wrote personal notes for packages, and double-checked each package and address.
  • Put CD with digital files for the Sembrar, Reforestar, Palmar project (Plant, Reforest Palmar project – planting 100 palm trees during August) banner in backpack.
  • Got dressed.

Mujeres Cambia jewelry is flying off the shelves.


9:00 – 10:00

  • Reviewed To Do List.
  • Gathered bags and left house and headed towards Libertad/Salinas an hour away (where the nearest post office, movie theatre, large super market, and local government offices are located).
  • Met a Mujeres Cambia member on the way to pick up more necklaces and to bring her along to Libertad/Salinas to train her on sending packages and applying for government account.

10:00 – 11:00

  • Dropped off Mujeres Cambia member at local government office to file paperwork.
  • Traveled to drop off digital files of the banner for the Sembrar, Reforestar, Palmar project.
  • Stopped by another printer to get quote to make t-shirts for the youth group and the reforestation project.

Some of the members of the Sembrar, Reforestar Palmar team.


11:00 – 12:00

  • Bought tools for reforestation project.
  • Picked up Mujeres Cambia member and brought her to the post office.
  • Checked in with another government office to sign Mujeres Cambia up for a special account with the post office.

12:00 – 13:00

  • Sent several packages of Mujeres Cambia jewelry to Quito and to the United States.
  • Received mail from Paul’s parents and the Peace Corps.
  • Said good-bye to Mujeres Cambia member.
  • Traveled to local supermarket to buy supplies for Mujeres Cambia and Palmar Pizza.

13:00 – 14:00

  • Shopped for food and supplies we can’t get in our town.
  • Ate lunch.

A sample palmera for the reforestation project.


14:00 – 15:00

  • Called several tree nurseries for quotes.
  • Called Ministry of Tourism to arrange for free transportation of the trees to Palmar.
  • Traveled to local tree nursery with best quote.

15:30 – 16:00

  • Confirmed free transport of trees!
  • Ordered 100 palm trees to be delivered for the Sembrar, Reforestar Palmar project.
  • Picked up Sembrar, Reforestar banner from printer.

Hanging the banner.


16:00 – 17:00

  • Traveled back home.

17:00 – 18:00

  • Arrived at home.
  • Put food away. Separated supplies into piles for Mujeres Cambia and Palmar Pizza.

18:00 – 19:00

  • Made work phone calls.
  • Got decorations ready for host mom’s surprise birthday party.

Our host mom blows out the candles.


19:00 – 20:00

  • Received cake and pizza order for birthday party.
  • Decorated host family’s house for party.
  • Surprised host mom.

20:00 – 21:00

  • Ate pizza, sang Happy Birthday, ate cake with host family, and celebrated host mom’s birthday.

21:00 – 22:00

  • Returned home to change, put on bug spray and lock up before heading out again to meet with the town’s vice president and a member of the tourism committee.
  • Had a meeting about the Sembrar, Reforestar Palmar project with vice president.

Closing up shop.


22:00 – 23:00

  • Walked to Palmar Pizza.
  • Conducted an end-of-the-month inventory of Palmar Pizza, counting all products and supplies with workers and noting them in a spreadsheet.

23:00 – 24:00

  • Walked back home.
  • Got ready for bed.

24:00 – 1:00

  • Fell asleep watching a movie.

Good night moon.

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