There are numerous empty carcasses caught in the interwebs about Peace Corps being little more than a way for over-privileged college grads to pad a resume or drink cheap beer on a two year adventure. People moan and complain about everything under the sun that is wrong with the system, wrong with staff, wrong with policy, wrong with vision. But in the end it comes down to just one thing: the volunteer himself. What are you, given an all-expenses-paid two year stint in a foreign country, going to do? The options for abuse and ineffectiveness are wide and easily available. But the opportunities to do something great are as tall as the stars and as deep as the hearts of the people you live among.
What I’m doing may not jibe with those in the comfy academic or political swivel chairs. And I admit that I’m not saving the world; no development or friendship program can. But at least I’m doing something. I am sharing my skills and knowledge in order to do my part to try and make my little sphere a better place.
It’s easy to criticize the guy who’s doing something, because there’s something there to criticize. The Peace Corps is that guy – is filled with those people. People who stop gaping at the problem and put their hand to the plow.
There’s a proverb in Kyrgyz that reads: Koz Korkok – Kol Batyr. It means, “The eye is a coward but the hand is a hero.” If you merely look upon all that must be done to make the world a better place, the coward emerges to stomp with his boots of judgment and despair upon what little spark of inspiration had flamed. But put your head down and get to work, and the hand will fan that flame into a vibrant energy that can effect a great change.