Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Happy (belated) 50th Birthday, Peace Corps!
Last week, the Peace Corps celebrated its 50th birthday. Most of you know that I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua from 1999 - 2001 (wow, that seems like a long time ago) and I must admit that despite the program's shortcomings (mainly, that it largely benefits the volunteers more than the host countries), I am very glad that I had the opportunity to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer. Sure, it was incredibly frustrating at times and I had to deal with things like giardia, bedbugs, and constant unwanted attention from strangers, but overall it was an immensely positive and rewarding experience and the source of a lot of great friendships. From a political standpoint, I think it is important that some Americans do know what daily life is like in a developing country, as much of the world lives without access to things we take for granted, like clean water. Plus, in the scheme of government spending, Peace Corps is dirt fucking cheap to run: in 2010, Peace Corps requested an amount equal to 0.01% of the total federal budget.
And now, some Peace Corps themed links:
Does that commemorative poster look familiar? Maybe because it's the work of Shepard Fairey, whose sister was a volunteer in Togo.
The Peace Corps Times 50th anniversary edition- with one of my fellow Nica 20 Ag volunteers representing Nicaragua!
A nice little article about the Peace Corps with some interesting historical tidbits.
My cousin Carolyn is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, working in a remote indigenous community (yikes! no weekly trips to the discoteca), and writes about it on her blog.