* Jedd Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Sustainable Community Development

One of our community volunteers assists a youth during our 1st summer camp

As Michelle and I look toward the next year (our last year) as Peace Corps volunteers, we can’t help but wonder: what should we be doing? In some ways, two years is a long time and in other ways, very short- especially when you consider trying to create a sustainable community development project. What do I mean? Michelle and I ask each other the following question:

“Will what we create here and now be something that can be sustained once we leave?”

We ask this question for a couple of reasons:

1. Isn’t this what Peace Corps is all about?
Sometimes we as PC volunteers can get caught up in all the focus on creation of projects and the “doing” aspect of our job. No hard feelings or misunderstanding between me and Continue reading “Sustainable Community Development”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Mid-Service Reflections

As we took part in our Mid-Service Conference a little more than a week ago, we had the opportunity to reflect on why we’re here and how we can make the best out of our remaining time (about 10 to 11 months). We were given the Aspiration Statements we had completed way back in 2011, before we had arrived in Jamaica. These were letters written to introduce ourselves to PC Jamaica staff. Below is an excerpt of my statement. Reading back over it has been a good reminder, and I’m also happy to say that I wasn’t too off base.

What I didn’t consider back when I was writing my Aspiration Statement, was how living in Jamaica might affect me in negative ways. If I had to sum up the biggest challenge for second-year volunteers in Jamaica, it would be the struggle to not become jaded. I don’t know if this feeling is unique to certain countries or if it’s experienced across the board in all Peace Corps placements. Our fellow volunteer, Adri, posted a reflection on this topic that I really resonated with, so if you want to understand what I mean, I highly recommend reading her blog post: Aspiration, Pessism, Inspiration- Starting Year Two. At this point in our service, I think many of us are mourning the loss of our optimism while fighting to keep a hold of hope and the passion we brought with us to our Peace Corps service.

Self-portrait on our 5 year anniversary. Also celebrating over a year of Peace Corps service.
Self-portrait on our 5 year anniversary. Also celebrating over a year of Peace Corps service.

Aspiration Statement
From an early age, Continue reading “Mid-Service Reflections”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Topics in PCJ #3: Goals

Continued from previous post(s)IMG_3660

The Peace Corps’ mission has three simple goals:

  1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.

  2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.

  3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

In my last post on cultural challenges, I started to mention that we as volunteers have to remember that our work is only one third of the Peace Corps’ goals. We have to turn in reports full of numbers to prove ourselves to the higher-ups and the tax payers, and there is pressure to have some tangible project to justify our presence here to people back home. I’m not saying that our work has no value in itself. But it is easy to forget that we should also find success in intangible, interpersonal ways. In fact, more likely than not, our greatest and most lasting impact as Peace Corps Volunteers will not come from our work. Continue reading “Topics in PCJ #3: Goals”