Guilt. That’s the emotion I have constantly been plagued with while living in Cebu City. Regardless of the situation… because of my American privilege followed accordingly by American ignorance, guilt will surely follow. I have these negative reoccurring thought patterns. I can feel them wearing me down, testing my patience and I’m afraid of the person I am becoming. When I started this assignment I wanted to be able to serve others with an open heart. Yet I can’t help but feel that my initial idealism has left me feeling completely naïve and inadequate.
How can humanity allow for such extreme wealth and extreme poverty to coexist? And at what point have we lost our humanity?
My Peace Corps placement has been worlds away from anything I could have ever imagined. I am living in a completely paradoxical environment that can be so incredibly overwhelming my tendency to cope seems to be separating myself from reality. My service in the Philippines often feels like a cartoon in which all the experiences are happening to someone else. I am removed, protected emotionally as an objective observer making mild attempts to rationalize away the guilt that follows every thought and action.
I feel a constant and persistent guilt while living in Cebu City, but I guess that means I’m still human.