I was recently reading an RPCV’s blog and there it was: the dreaded tarantula post. I thought if this RPCV hadn’t had to deal with a tarantula, there was hope that I wouldn’t (rational, right?). One of the things I’ve given a lot of thought to during this pre-Peace Corps process is how to deal with certain situations. I’m a planner, and my international development background means I’m all about mitigation strategies. It calms my inner type A personality, and even though it will all go out the window, I like the idea of a plan. So here’s the first installment of my “what ifs.”
- I see a tarantula, black widow, brown recluse, etc (!!!)? If you know me, you know I really hate spiders. I’ve had to make peace with smaller ones because the attic bathroom attracts 3-4 daddy long legs per week, but nothing will ever make me comfortable with the idea of a giant, poisonous spider within a 500 mile radius of me.
- Current plan: Get a shovel. Keeps distance between me and spider but also heavy enough to kill on the first blow. Where am I getting a shovel? That’s another question for another day!
- I don’t have running water? Peace Corps provides water filters and training on how to use them properly (or so I’ve heard). This would be less than ideal, but plenty of PCVs deal without running water.
- Current plan: Stock up on bottled or clean tap water. Look into rooftop rainwater harvesting, although the rains aren’t very reliable in SA.
- I don’t have electricity? Chances are decent that I won’t have electricity. I’m a little unclear about cooking without electricity, but I imagine PC will give us some ideas.
- Current plan: Get a solar charger for essentials. Work with host family on how to deal with cooking sans electricity; they probably know much more than me! Or possibly look into a camping stove.
- My community/colleagues/clients/etc. don’t like/trust me? Well, I certainly can’t force someone to like or trust me. And without trust, it’s going to be really hard to do any work. Hopefully my strategies, coupled with previous experience working in similar situations, will help me with this situation.
- Current plan: Spend a lot of time building trust and forming relationships, learning what is important to my community/colleagues/clients/etc., and demonstrate my commitment to my project. If all else fails, be patient and talk with PC, my host family, or other appropriate persons.