Over this past weekend, I continued my quest to become more involved in the Returned Peace Corps community. The group gathered on the Milwaukee lakefront for a charity walk. The walk was to raise money for NAMI and one of the RPVC members won a grant to go towards the groups total.
In all reality, I wanted Ellie to go with me but she wasn’t up for the charity walk. However, I didn’t want her not going to stop me. I really am trying to push myself to do things even if I’m not fully comfortable. Since I’m still new to the group, I’m still not sure I’ll have someone to talk to if I go and I’m the kind of guy who can just be content and uncomfortable being quiet in the corner.
But I went, the weather couldn’t have been better either. I made my donation to the fund as I registered. Some things I create exceptions to my rule on limited spending so I can save money to pay off my IRS debt and charity is on that list (under the right circumstances).
The charity walk was only 5k (I say only as though I would want a 10k or a marathon to walk) and it was around the park on Lake Michigan. It wove its way out to a point on the shore and then back. At first, I was more than content watching the dogs people had brought. There was a St. Bernard in front of me that kind of just went where she wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a St. Bernard in person before. But eventually, I got pulled into the RPCV conversation which was also welcome. I mostly talked with Chris and Joe and a man leaving later this year for Lesotho but I didn’t catch his name.
Joe had served in Peru back in the mid-60s and had some really interesting stories to tell. He told me he almost didn’t get on the last plane out of the US to get to Peru but only went because his trunk had already been sent. He was glad he followed that trunk. Joe is also the only person I’ve met, thus far, who has walked El Camino de Santiago. He highly recommended it and was more than happy to offer his advice to anyone who wished to walk it as well (if you’re interested in hearing his advice, let me know and I can try to get you in contact with him).
While walking, we also met a man who was on the prowl for someone to talk at. He was one of those people you feel bad for while at the same time try to avoid eye contact with. A street person. It’s hard to tell how much of what he said was true and how much he had convinced himself of over the years, but I believed his self-proclamation as a Polack and I believe that he was in Vietnam. Joe was the unfortunate man who caught his eye and politely listened to him for a while before brushing him aside. There is only so much you can listen to before you want to get back to your own conversations.
When the charity walk was done, there were brats and hot dogs for all. We stood around, ate our food and just talked. We mostly prepared the man leaving for Lesotho. It was hard to tell if he had been a volunteer before but he seemed eager and very well knowledgable in his future home. I told he he would probably be replacing my friend Zoe, who is currently finishing up her service in Lesotho, because she’ll be done right at the time he’ll be swearing-in.
All in all, it was a nice morning spent in the company of some nice people. I’m glad that I went down to the lake for the charity walk.