Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is Peace Corps (to me)?

As I get ready to go home, I have been thinking a lot about Peace Corps. I mean, I know the background [link], the statistics [link], the three main goals [link], but is that Peace Corps? Is it an agency based in Washington, D.C.? Is it a legacy of a President? Is it a website [link]?

Na. I don't think Peace Corps is any of these things. Or maybe it is all of those things. Or maybe it is a frog...

Probably not (on the frog part)...

Anyway...to me, Peace Corps is the relationship a Volunteer has with their community.

Sounds cheesy, I know, but, hey, it's my opinion.

In Zaqatala, nobody knows that Peace Corps has a website or was started by a pretty famous president or is based in Washington, D.C. Some people may know what there are three goals and a little bit of our history, but honestly, Peace Corps is the Volunteer in front of them. It is the Volunteer they met for thirty minutes or the Volunteer they watch interact with their children.

It is easy to get caught up in the bureaucracy of Peace Corps and the changes that have happened in the last 50 years. It happens to me all the time. I get frustrated with a new rule or I don't understand how a Volunteer possibly could be thriving in their community...but then I remember: Every Volunteer's experience is uniquely different and if I try to compare or judge their service, I am missing the point.

So here is to not missing the point. Good on you, PCVs.