Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Peace Corps Online » Discussion » Open Discussion » MARRIAGE AND THE PEACE CORPS « Previous Next »

  Thread Last Poster Posts Pages Last Post
  Start New Thread        

Author Message
Unregistered guest
Posted From:
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 2:08 pm:   

My fiance and I are planning on getting married and joining the peace corps thereafter. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the pros and cons of being married in the peace corps. What are the things we could struggle with and succeed with? Most of the material i have read centers around the perspective of being single and in the peace corps. But I would like to know what it is like to be married in the peace corps?
Married Volunteer
Unregistered guest
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2009 - 8:03 pm:   

We are also getting married while in college and plan on joining the Peace Corps after graduation. The Peace Corp website mentions that about 10% of it's volunteers are married. We're just starting to research how this will work out and will be curious to see responses to your question.
Sue Ann Breems (sue_ann_breems)
New member
Username: sue_ann_breems

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2009
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2009 - 10:39 pm:   

My husband and I had been married for 2 years when we joined the Peace Corps in 1987. We lived in a 4 by 6 meter bamboo hut on an island in the Philippines. In our previous lives, he was a lawyer and I was a nurse-midwife, both with very busy, independent professions. Being together 24/7 was a huge adjustment, but having eachother's company and support more than made up for that. We spent hours playing Scrabble, reading to eachother, and just processing the whole wild experience. We always had many PCV visitors, as single people of both sexes could come and stay with us since we were married (taboo for single males to stay with single female PCVs). David did not learn the language as well as I did, and that may have been due to the fact that I love languages and he was then content to sit back and let me do the talking/translating. Peace Corps did a great job in helping us find our work styles (Myers//Briggs personality profiling) and we worked together well on our projects; again, it helped that we each had very different strengths.
Most importantly, Peace Corps changed us a great deal, and now 20 years later, it is such a gift that we shared that experience. It also allowed us to both be comfortable in taking our kids all over the world, traveling on local buses and staying in out of the way places. I also found being a married woman gave me more credibility with the women in our village, as they all married young. They did find our lack of children at the old age of 30 to be very concerning however. We had 4 married couples in our group of 80 PCVs; only 2 of us completed our service; the other 2 couples left early because they got pregnant. I'd say go for it, just use birth control.
Breton & Terri Courtney (courtney)
New member
Username: courtney

Post Number: 1
Registered: 2-2009
Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2009 - 3:14 pm:   

Breton and I always knew we would join the Peace Corps. It was only a matter of when. Married at 20, we put each other through college then filled out the PC application in 1981. One year later--along with four other couples--we cruised in a twin prop plane to Tuvalu. Couples were specifically requested, because of safety reasons (mostly for the women of either culture) and to alleviate the potential for loneliness that living on an outer island could incur. On Nukulaelae, there was no running water, electricity, or anything more modern than a kerosene lamp. We lived in a hut that had 2ft. high walls, a gravel floor and thatched roof. Swarms of mosquitoes, rats, scorpions, and spiders the size of small coconuts were residents, as well. Privacy was non-existent and every villager knew where you were at any moment of any day. It was, after all, a very small island. (One mile long by half a mile wide). Breton helped build rain catchments, and taught engine repair. I ran a pre-school and health clinic. Together we raised ducks, a rescued puppy named ‘ Wrecks’ (who ended up getting shipped to the US with the help of the American Ambassador to Fiji!) and created a community garden and smokeless stove project. The people in Nukulaelae were some of the warmest, most generous and wise people we have ever met in our lives and the country, on its worst day, was peacefully beautiful. Still, having someone to speak English to and hum an old Pink Floyd song with, share an inside joke about home or an understanding hug made all the difference. There was a certain respect given to us a married couple that I do not think would have been given a single volunteer. It also held us in check when one of us was cranky and wanting to have an argument. That is something to remember; your experience is an open book and --as a couple in such a forum-- it is at full purview of the community. After a year, the money for outer island plane service, which had been subsidized by Britain, was discontinued. The three couples still standing were shipped back to Fiji and offered new assignments. One couple went home, one went to the Solomons and we ventured to uncharted territory in Tabiteuea North in Kiribati. The housing was an upgraded chicken coop by the lagoon. Renown as the most violent island in the Pacific with a history of cannibalism, I would not have stood a chance alone. As a couple in a convent setting, we were oddballs to the villagers who thought Peace Corps was a new form of Communism and to the novitiates who did not know how to treat a man –any man—living in the village. We ran St. Patrick’s school. Students came from 10 surrounding villages, some which happened to be at war with one another. That kept recess interesting to say the least. The kids opened our eyes to a whole new way of understanding the world. Having so little and yet being filled with endless enthusiasm they believed in the possibility of hope and goodness. We still talk about the elders and students of Tanaeang and hold them forever close to our hearts. Still, in both countries, so many children died for so little reason, such as lack of fresh water or immunizations. And though our stay in Tuvalu and Kiribati did not end either, as a couple, we did make a difference and carry the understanding of what that means, together.

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Options: Enable HTML code in message