It is a bureaucracy!!

There is no question that the Peace Corps is a federal government bureaucracy. And yes, I have read all the information about how getting medical clearance is the most frustrating part of the application process. I'm beginning to understand.

Today, I called my recruiter, Tricia, to inquire about my status. She had asked me to call if I had not heard anything about my application by today. She looked in her computer and it still shows that I'm awaiting medical clearance. She said I should call the Medical Officer who was in charge of my application...a guy named Dennis in DC.

I immediately called and he answered the phone. Very friendly guy but the bottom line is that they haven't even looked at my medical application yet. He said they are jammed up, more than normal, and they were having trouble getting caught up. He said once they look at my file, it will happen very fast. They will either call or send me a letter if they need more information, or just approve it. As we were chatting, he mentioned that he and his wife had been in a similar situation with a house and jobs when they decided to volunteer. He told me to be patient and if I haven't heard something in two weeks, to give him a call back. I'm beginning to think that may be the standard line--call back in two weeks. He did give me a little nugget of information. He said that while the official rule is that all invitations are given six weeks before departure, that it really is more like eight weeks. He said I would probably not be leaving until mid-June, perhaps around the 15th or so for my program. That's about eight weeks from the April 21st deadline that I was given two weeks ago. That is actually really good news. If I don't actually hear until April 21st, that would still give me time to give adequate notice at work and still have a few weeks to get ready to leave. It would limit my ability to do any substantial trips before I depart but I can make that work.

While a mid-June departure doesn't line up exactly with last year's Fiji schedule, (See previous post) it still seems a good bet. Both East Timor and Tonga have July departures. It looks like East Timor departs early July according to two blogs, but one lists an April departure. Tonga seems all over the place, but one blog shows arrivals on July 11, 2004. (I also found a blog writer who was given an official reprimand for sharing his opinions on-line and he closed it. At this point, I intend to keep my postings private.)

I don't know if my assumptions about the departures being the same every year are correct, but there does seem to be some consistency in the dates.

So what now? I wait two more weeks. And I keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue.

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