RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Peace corps has three basic tenets, two of which relate to cultural exchange and one which relates to development work. As a peace corps volunteer in Guatemala from 2003-2005, I found that it depended on the peace corps country director, program leader, and the individual volunteers on which of those tenets was most emphasized. Some of the criticism of peace corps relates directly to its mission. Peace corps volunteers are eager and willing to implement the peace corps mission. If congress feels that volunteers focus too much on cultural exchange, then they should alter the mission/tenets.
If congress would like peace crops to function more like other countries' development organizations, like Cooperacion Espanola or the UN program, then congress needs to offer better professional training or hire only volunteers with schooling or experience in specific skills or professions. For example, I was the only experienced professional city/town planner of the 20 volunteers brought into my class in Guatemala to implement the 1996 Peace Accords requirement to decentralize the governement by small town elections, training of municipal councils, and support the newly formed town planning offices.
Peace Corps is called the toughest job you'll ever love... which is true, but one tends to love it more the longer one has been back from that experience. My site and work assignment required enormous amounts of self-motivation and research in order to help the community the most. As most peace corps volunteers, I was dropped into a community with little direction, a couple of vague contacts, and vague notion of my work assignment. When there and through talking with community members, I discovered the actual needs of the community and went to work. I came home exhausted from the effort. Now I look back at that work experience with awe and I look back at the friendships and community and country with nostalgia.
posted 2 years, 2 months ago
view in context