Please read: The Rugged Altruists
This short op-ed from the New York Times provides a valuable perspective on the life of an international development worker and what it takes to survive the toils of living in the developing world. The author talks about the virtues of an aid worker: courage, deference, and thanklessness. I couldn’t agree more. Although short and lacking in elaboration, the article effectively illustrates what we, as Peace Corps volunteers, must go through and what we feel on a daily basis. This, along with the fact that my sitemate Stephanie has chose to extend her service for an additional 6 months inspires me to write a brief acknowledgement of the fantastic work that Peace Corps volunteers are doing all over the world.
So, here’s to Peace Corps volunteers everywhere, to their optimism, their persistence, their ingenuity, and their selflessness. We all struggle sometimes. We all question why we’re here, we half-ass a club because we just don’t have the energy, and we stay cooped up in our home watching movies and counting down the days until we get to return home to the warmth and familiarity of America and our families. But, we also stick it out, we get so immersed in our work, so emboldened and impassioned, that we ignore our unease and discomforts, disregard our insecurities, forget how far from home we are, give all of ourselves to our work, and embrace this new life we have chosen.
The work is usually never as dire and desperate as it seems in this article, and sometimes it is not as impactful, but it is always done with just as much effort, compassion, and fervor. So here’s to you Peace Corps volunteers, to your failures, your successes, your good days and bad ones, but mostly, here’s to the kindness and hope that you spread in everything you do, from the most heart-wrenching and “successful” of events to the seemingly inconsequential daily occurrences. You are making a difference, and I am inspired by you.
|Playing homemade Azeri RISK in Qax!|
|Notice that there are very few white pieces on the board at this point. I was slaughtered!|