Tuesday, January 31, 2012

American Lemonade

A couple of months back my roommate got robbed at gunpoint just around the corner from our apartment. In Oakland we call that getting jacked. In Cape Verde we call that a casabodi... as in "your cash or your body." Fortunately, he walked away unharmed, albeit without his iPod. In the following days, as he sought to come to terms with his experience, he turned to poetry as a form of therapy. The haiku he created was hilarious, but due to the sensitivity of the event, someone mentioned in the poem asked him not to publish it. If you are worried about my roommate, please don't... he's doing just fine.

Last week I got jacked too. Not at gunpoint or with a knife—in fact, I didn't get casabodied at all, but I still feel like I've been robbed. After 2 months of training, and 4 months of service, I found out that due to budget cuts Peace Corps would be closing its operations in Cape Verde in September 2012.* I am still processing this information, and I've only started to weigh the options before me now. Here is an extremely simplified summary of the different paths that I could take, in no particular order.

  • Start over. Get transferred to another country, go through Pre-Service Training again, then complete 2 years of service there.
  • Finish my first year of service in Cape Verde, then transfer to another country and complete my second year of service there.
  • Finish my first year of service in Cape Verde, then move on with my life.
  • Throw up my middle finger, E.T. (early termination) and go home tomorrow.
Obviously, each option is more complex than I've made it sound. Each choice would have its own pro's and con's. Honestly, I only included the last option in this list because I need to vent a little bit. Right now, budget cuts or not, I do feel like Peace Corps has not fulfilled its commitment to me.** That being said, I'm not going out like that. This isn't the end of the world, it's just a big ol´ box of lemons... and you know what  that means.

C'est la vie, right? The most important thing for me to do now is to figure out what is best for me next, and to make the most of my remaining months in Cape Verde. In fact, knowing that my days here are numbered has helped me tune into all that there is to appreciate. Like my roommate, I have also decided to experiment with poetry to help me cope in these difficult times. So, in the spirit of art therapy, I present to you the first in a series of Live From Tomorrow Haikus.

"American Lemonade"
a haiku 

Dad, I joined Peace Corps
...now I feel American...
I just got laid off.

Pura Vida,


*The "official line" is that after 24 years of operations, the Peace Corps Cape Verde Program is "graduating." As the agency faces serious budget cuts and uncertainties, the decision has been made to focus Peace Corps efforts and resources on the countries and people that need it the most. After a full review, six countries were selected for closure: Cape Verde, Romania, Bulgaria, St. Kitts, Antigua, and Suriname. For more information about the decision to end operations in Cape Verde, please visit the following links:

**I understand, and actually agree with the agency's decision to select Cape Verde for closure. I do not understand or agree with the decision to close operations in September 2012, when 25 volunteers will still have one year of left on their service contracts. Sell a tank, have a bake sale, I don't care—let's just finish what we started.


  1. Sorry to hear about the Peace Corp snafu, but I love the Haiku. I have faith that you'll figure it all out. Pura vida from berkeley, Jesse

  2. Drew. Rishi writing from India. I don't know if you remember me, but I went to high school with you. I am a fan of your writing and wanted to let you know that I am sorry they cut your program!

    take it easy brother

    1. Are you serious!? I never forget my folks! Did you get your but out of the military yet? Are you still trying to learn how to play point guard? Thanks for reading!

  3. Dang drew!!! Im sorry to hear about your trip being cut. Im sure you'll choose the best option for YOU.( now if it was ME id throw the middle finger and go home LOL) besides that i hope all is well! Ill be back in the bay in may/june. Hope to see you? Lol lOve you!

    Pura Vida from strangly warm DC


  4. Hey Drew I cant remember how to write Haiku's and I'm not clever enough to write a sonnet but I feel for you while at the same time knowing I can't possibly fully grasp how frustrating, disappointing and surreal this shit is. Like your other friends around the place though, I know your a cool kitten and you're gonna land paws first.

    1. Thanks Colleen... you might wanna get my couch ready though.