Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Development and Peace

The following quotes are from an article off The New Yorker. If you are interested in the quotes you should read it. I will respond with some responses to the quotes. This article really made me think about my purpose here and it is very well written. It has been circulating around Peace Corps blogs the last month or so. I am sorry if it is repetitive by now but it’s a great article. I hope you enjoy it!

The New Yorker: The Doorknob

“The problem with Peace Corps is that the 27-month commitment is a major deterrent for young people"

-Nicholas D. Kristof

Before joining the Peace Corps I never met anyone who was a volunteer. Most people I do know who service oriented things like the short term projects. Leaving things like family, friends, and country is very difficult. I don’t know if I call it a problem. I think the time is about right because if you are not serious about developing others this would not be too big of a deal. Development does not happen overnight, or even in a 27 month period sometimes. Development in my mind is best described as a journey.

Peace Corps Volunteers as “résumé-driven, undereducated provincial American BAs with, all too often, little or no knowledge … even in teaching (or speaking) their own native language.”

- John Brown, Former Foreign Service Officer

I understand where he is coming from here. I feel this way when it comes to teaching. I have never taught English before. Sometimes I feel underprepared to teach something about a language I just naturally speak. For example, what in the world is a modal and what is its function? This is a question I got from one of my students. I had to answer him by saying, “I am not sure. I don’t know this kind of stuff. I just speak English but I am not a teacher.” Though it seems my primary job now is to teach English. I have no clue what I am doing most of the time.

“I’ve tried to educate Congress that P.C. is not really a development program. Nor is it a cross-cultural program. It sits on a sliding scale between. It’s about living humbly and understanding, and making lifelong friends."

-Rajeev Goyal, President of Push for Peace Corps

My primary job has not been teaching English. It seems my primary job has been peace. Imagine that. We promote peace just by getting a better understanding of the people here and also them understanding our culture and country. Getting people to understand misconceptions of American culture and its people makes peace more attainable. Development is a part of my job but without living humbly or understanding I could not do development. True development is done when you are at the level of the people you are with and they trust you. That way the journey of development is done with the people, not separate. Development is great but peace is better.

Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Negativity and Good Things

Camp Taroudant is over. It was a long exhausting week. I learned one big lesson in the week: I need to chill the crap out. The whole week I was stressed out. I guess it was mostly psychological. I think way too much about everything. It's the normal stuff like not knowing what to expect, and never doing it before. The thing is that everything went great! The Peace Corps volunteers were amazing and were taking things with stride. I blame it on my introversion (get energy from being alone). The thought of having to be around 110 different kids around that I have teach, talk to and entertain sounds like my worst nightmare just because people in general exhaust me. I am working hard to fix this but I am having little success. I think for the rest of my service I am going to try hard to work with kids of the amount of 15 or under. Then I can be my prime :)

Anyways, part of my chilling the crap out I am going to try and be more positive and that includes blog posts.

Things that I am excited about:

-My sisters upcoming visit. She is coming in the middle of June.
-London. My favorite city on earth. Tanie has never been and I hope she likes it as much as I do. We will be there at the end of May and a few days in June.
-Packages that are coming. Packages always make a bad day better. Thanks everyone for sending them.
-IST (In Service Training). This is time for us to get together with other Peace Corps volunteers. I am excited to see them again. We train for random things but the training isn't what I am looking forward to.
-Summer. This will be a great time to explore Morocco and relax in the scorching hot weather here around this area. I hear that everything shuts down during this time. Ramadan is something that will be very neat to be apart of again but in a different city.
-End of May. This is when my classes will end for awhile. We might be able to start up things like a film club or something else. Who knows.
-Broadband internet. My internet is now by a wireless stick that runs from cell phone towers. Needless to say the internet for us is very slow. Very soon we want to get broadband connection. It is a little more expensive but it will be worth it.

Thanks for reading :)