Ricky Kresslein



I love being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji. It’s the greatest thing I have ever worked for and achieved in my life thus far. It is the experience of a life time and I already know that I will think about Fiji every day for the rest of my life. Even on my deathbed I’m sure I will be remembering happily the time I was able to spend here and the people I spent that time with.

I don’t have many issues living here. There are things that are difficult—much more difficult than in America. Things like washing clothes, doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, traveling, and other tasks that have become easy with the invention of new technologies in first world countries. In the states we take these technologies for granted, not even thinking about how easy it is to throw clothes in the wash and forget about it. We talk about “first world problems,” which can be hilarious, but they aren’t real issues.

However, none of those time-consuming tasks bother me. I only have one real challenge here—the challenge of always feeling like an outsider. No matter where I go, whether it be to town or to the house next door, it is always apparent that I do not belong. As much as I want to fit in completely, it just isn’t possible.

I am either given too much attention, or not enough. I am asked constantly to tell stories, because they have been hearing the same stories over and over for years, but all I want is to listen to those stories, because they are new to me. I am asked about America, which I love to talk about, but sometimes its nice to just talk about what John said to Tom yesterday. Or rather, what Jone said to Tomasi.

Coming to the Peace Corps, I knew this is how it would be. I also know that there are things I can improve on to help integrate better and be accepted even just a little bit more. I could become fluent in the language, leave my house and just sit with people more, go to the farm and work in the heat all day, and drink more kava at night, even when I’m tired and want to go to bed.

These are all things I am planning to do, and reading it makes it sound easy, but actually taking action is never as easy. Going to the farm is not something I want to do when there is laundry I need to get done and lessons to plan. Learning the language is a long and tedious process. I can and will study more, but studying is never fun. I could stay out late drinking grog, but after an hour I get doped and just want to go to bed before I puke. Sitting with people can be fun and relaxing, but it gets boring staring at the ocean when you have no idea what everyone is talking and laughing about.