Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More surfing on the innerwaves.

The Los Angeles Times has an article today on increasing numbers of Peace Corps applicants, and the hopes for increased funding and more volunteers: 

More Americans Turning to Peace Corps

I'm not sure how I feel about increasing the numbers of Peace Corps volunteers. Actually, I'm all for it -- if we also increase, even if only slightly, the amount spent per volunteer/site. Not to give away funds to local communities -- I'm totally behind the Peace Corps concept of teaching rather than giving. But just a little bit more money would go a looonnnnggg way toward giving volunteers better training before heading into their sites, and better resources/support to help their communities launch projects. 

I'm also so happy to see Peace Corps re-entering Rwanda, Liberia and Ethiopia. I sometimes wonder whether Peace Corps remains too long in certain other countries ... at some point, shouldn't those countries be better equipped to do their own development work? Certainly in Morocco, in my sector, in my own little village, I can count several local young adults who have the education, the job-specific training, and most important the desire to do my job -- they just can't find any paying work. When should a country be considered ready to take over and offer these opportunities to its own residents? Are we sometimes a crutch, relied on long past necessary? I don't know the answer; I just wonder about it sometimes. 

In other news ... 

* Tomorrow is moving day, inchallah. But not until 7:30 or so, after the sun starts to go down and takes the heat of the day with it. I suppose, with how little I have, I'll still have plenty of time to unpack at least the essentials before bedtime. I just counted ... not even during college freshman year, I'm betting, have I moved in fewer than 15 boxes. What doesn't change, however, is the percentage of those boxes that hold books. 

* We've gone to Moroccan Savings Time for the summer, until Ramadan begins in late August. So now I am 6 hours ahead of CDT, instead of 5. Except when I'm not -- some people here operate on "new time," but some adamantly remain on "old time." Adjust your clocks accordingly. 

* An encouraging email from PC headquarters: This month’s theme for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is “Your Rights, Our Rights, Human Rights.”  This theme is particularly germane when one considers that, the U.S. recently joined 66 other U.N.-member states in signing a decree for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and that many of our Volunteers and staff members serve in societies with limited rights for gay and lesbian people.  With this in mind, let us reflect upon how we can build toward a more inclusive society. 

* I've collected paperwork from all but one of my summer camp kids. They're so adorably funny when they're excited ... and they're so adorably scared-looking in the accompanying "mug shot" photos. 

* I am NOT getting a sore throat. Nope. Huh-uh. Not happening. 

* Shout-out to Mom and Dad: My emails to you are STILL bouncing back to me. Maybe check your spam settings ... maybe it's because I'm overseas? PS: Please send tortilla chips recipe! 


faye cassell said...

In reference to your comment about countries doing their own development work...

Have you met Amelia? Once, she briefly mentioned to me her interest in doing a 3rd year, which would focus on connecting Moroccan university grads with PC volunteers.

For example, a university business student could "intern" or work alongside an SBDer, so that once the SBDer left, there is a Moroccan doing what we essentially do, creating some level of sustainability, or at least giving fresh college grads a chance to actually "do" the job they studied in college. Granted, this was just something very brief she mentioned to me, but I think this is a potential idea Peace Corps should perhaps start considering.

B said...

What a great idea! I just met Amelia briefly at the consolidation exercise and LOVED her. I will definitely get in touch with her ... let me know if you're interested in doing something as well!