Posted by: Alicia Phillips | January 14, 2012

Things We PCV’s Talk About the Most…..


Over the holidays I spent a lot of time talking with other PCV’s. Thanksgiving and New Years, when big groups of volunteers got together, and there were so many different conversations going on between people, I found it interesting that most of them covered the same topics. Stick a bunch of volunteers together in a house (or resort) with nowhere to go, with no TV and no computers and funny things come up in conversation. This is how I broke it down:

Food: Food we miss from home, Food in the market, Foods that are in season right now (Avocados! Holla Guacamole!!!!), how to use different foods in different recipes, how market prices compare to other parts of the country, How good cheese is, How a certain magical supermarket has fun American food like corn chips and mac and cheese every so often (New World!), the pros and cons of different types of cooking oil, how to convert stovetops in to make-shift ovens, How to keep food cool without a fridge, How much we hate pests that eat our food (ants, rats, weevils), how we usually end up eating the pests that are in our food (except the rats…gross), planning trips to certain parts of the country to get certain foods (Suva for dry black beans, Ra for the best honey, etc…), How easy it is to make things from scratch when back home we would buy them readymade (tomato soup, hummus, bread). Needless to say…… consumes our bellies and minds most of the time.

Opposite Sex: Guys we dated back home, guys we are dating here, local guys, hot surfer guys, the lack of attractive Australian and Kiwi guys in Fiji, what the next group of volunteers guys’ will be like, the random hot guy sighting in town, how we are looking forward to going home and dating guys, building the perfect guy heads that no one will ever live up to. It’s sad really how often we talk about this….

Poop Stories: Back home I usually refrained from talking about these issues, I held strong to the theory that “Girls Don’t Poop”. Here though, it’s a different a story. Everyone is sick all the time- and we talk about it. Nothing is off limits: Giardia, H. Pylori, Diarrhea, Vomit, Solid BM, How long it has been since you’ve last had a BM, eating more fiber, less fiber, boiling your drinking water, compost toilets, etc. Also I feel like I need to include conversations about skin infections here. Because the two go hand in hand most of the time. We cover it all: Scabies, boils, bed bugs, ant bites, weird rashes, ring worms, fungus, infections, cuts, burns. We each have our own little pharmacies and we discuss what antibiotic your taking for what and how it interacts with other medicines. (FYI mom and other mothers that read this: we have great doctors that take good care of us whenever we have these issues so no worries)

Books/Movies: I am a nerd and a huge book worm but luckily, I am surrounded by my kind of people here! People who would prefer to read a good book than watch a good movie. Which is good considering good movies are hard to come by here. Our Peace Corps office has a HUGE library that is always available to PCV’s and everyone brought their own books and we can sit around and discuss and suggest books for hours! Exchanging books and finding new books and reading other people favorite books is so much fun! Also, most of us brought our computers with external hard drives that we loaded with movies and TV shows before we came. Exchanging and watching those are fun too! I have been introduced to so many fun shows since coming here! Dexter, Modern family, The Wire, Game of Thrones! Whoa!

Gossip: Who’s dating who, who’s sleeping with who, who said what. It’s dumb and childish, but with a small group like us it is inevitable.

Work: Most of the time when we get together we want to forget about work and life at our sites and talk about other things, but sometimes talking to other volunteers about issues you are facing is the best thing you can do. You can bounce ideas off each other and find solutions. Truthfully, the PCV’s in my group are some of the smartest, most articulate, creative, knowledgeable people I have ever met! And they are doing GOOD things at their sites, it’s amazing really.

So there you go, that is what occupies most conversation between PCVs here. It’s amazing how normal is all seems to me. I may have trouble making friends when I move back to America. Ha!


  1. NO Way, Alicia, you’ll never be unable to make friends. You’re one of the sweetest people and have been since you were a little toddler playing cards with Uncle Herb …”It’s your turn” you’d say, so cute!!!! Now you’re in a position where that inner sweetness will help you with anyone who’s lucky enough to come in contact with you. Go for the GOLD, gal, enjoy yourself in the process. and keep us posted!! LOVE to keep up with your goings on!!

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