Part of Peace Corps service is knowing that at any time political circumstances may require your immediate evacuation. Peace Corps volunteers have walked onto waiting military transports and found themselves unexpectedly back in America on a number of occasions. In Morocco PCVs were most recently evacuated at the start of the Iraq War when anti-American sentiment in the region was at a peak. Because of these realities and the political nature of Peace Corps life, Volunteers practice for this eventuality.
Last week Volunteers gathered together as part of a drill at a very fancy hotel in a town that can’t be named for security reasons. Surrounded by very high walls and apparently frequented only by Americans practicing emergency procedures and Germans on holiday, this hotel was a world apart from the day-to-day Morocco. For starters it had a pool. Moreover there were girls there wearing bikinis and drinking alcohol. Which made the whole experience rather surreal.
Who knew political crises come with nudity and a bar?