Regarding "avoiding getting sick and joining the PC,"
I have to honestly say that I loved my work in Chile, loved the experience and the people there and have returned once to my site. But after 20 years of being sick, having my parents sacrifice so much to keep me alive, barely living at above poverty level due to my struggles with the USDOL/OWCP (still) and not being insurable in the US because I'm not well enough to work and be part of a group plan, I live in fear every day. Each day is devoted to trying to make this system work and I no longer feel that the experience was worth the risk and that is a shame. The fault lies not with the in-country end of things but the lack of support on this end. Because of this I would never feel safe working for my government again.
And yet I can still feel a deep and profound connection and joy for the time I spent in Chile. Take this for what it's worth.