Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Collection
Sally Waley served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cambodia from July 2012 to September 2014 in a health education program. Based in Samrong, Siem Reap province, she served as a health extension agent in a rural health center that covered nine villages. The Peace Corps health program in Cambodia was new, and at first Waley felt she had not received enough technical training and did not speak the language well enough to be useful. She told herself "you are doing the best that you can" several times a day, but felt scared, stressed, and guilty for not trying hard enough. Eventually, she started a girls health club at the local high school and began working with the village chiefs and the network of local health volunteers to do more work outside of the health center. She felt that the most useful thing she could do was to be social with people and to listen. Early in her service, Waley had to return to the U.S. for a month because her father was ill, and was unsure if she should continue in the Peace Corps or remain home with her family. Despite these challenges, she became very close to her Cambodian host family, especially the 14 year old daughter, Vannay. (She stays in touch with them through Facebook and went back to visit two years after her close of service.) Finally, Waley discusses her reverse culture shock and challenges readjusting upon her return home. She obtained a job with the U.S. Department of Commerce under a federal program for preferential hiring of RPCVs. She remains connected with other volunteers and is President of the Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association. She says Peace Corps taught her to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations and to deal with ambiguity. Interviewed and recorded by Evelyn Ganzglass, August 24, 2018. 2 digital audio files (web streaming files combined into 1 file).