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Yet these traits, from which I had previously derived strength, became the source of my immense heartbreak.I did extra work in my demonstration garden only to find out later that agriculture agents resented me for it.Interracial dating is a topic with as much curiosity for some as attraction for others as distaste for yet some others. I tagged along with these three women and one man all in their early-to-mid-twenties and each already several months into their two year volunteer commitments.(And the distaste comes from those who ether don’t like the idea of taking part in such relationships OR from those who find the topic off-putting for even being brought up at all in 2014. We walked into a sports bar and sat at one of the flimsy, plastic tables with plastic deck chairs.I had lengthy, optimistic conversations with a village chief about starting a community garden only to discover that I misread his reaction and that he was, in fact, against the whole endeavor. Maybe everyone needs a period in their lives when they barely recognize themselves.When a project faltered, I wondered if I should blame the cultural difference or my language skills, my lack of expertise or my accidental impropriety. The story that Peace Corps volunteers like to tell — and Americans like to hear — is one of urgent and awe-inspiring work.I did know a few couples that had served together in the Peace Corps early in their marriage and it did seem that they had a special bond between them.

With an average age of 27 (skewed upwards a bit by the 10% oldster volunteers like me) and a term of service of over two years, it is not surprising that there are many pairings among the volunteers and with others.

isn’t the head-turner it used to be, I’ve yet found it an interesting area to write about in Tanzania if just because you’re dealing with a lot more than just differences in skin color.

After several minutes of socializing, the wavy, dark-haired female volunteer said something along the lines of, “Yeah, my boyfriend can help get a phone working here.” The topic of relationships in these volunteers’ circumstance is always interesting, because they’re away from home (so maybe in a long distance relationship with someone back home).

Volunteer life bursts with cultural faux pas, fruitless projects and second guesses. Even on my best days in Senegal, the sudden scream of “toubab,” a taunting word for foreigners, reminded me that my cheerfulness was jinxed, my presence perhaps unwelcome.

In West Africa, I confronted the toubab version of myself, a self previously foreign to me that was lethargic, cynical and at home with failure.

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I did read in Scientific American that emotional bonds are strengthened by doing new things together, feeling vulnerable, sharing frightening situations or stressful physical activities.

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