If you missed it: Part I
The first goal (the one about providing skilled men and women to countries that ask for them) is definitely the most straightforward of the three goals of Peace Corps. It is the only one that really gets measured in our twice-yearly volunteer reports to Washington and, even though I am still trying to find my place in my municipality, I still have a rough framework of how I am to accomplish the first goal. You know, eventually.
The other two? They’re a little more ambiguous.
2. Help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served.
3. Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.
So, basically, the second and third goals are all about cultural exchange. Which is definitely important, especially considering the ways in which our world is becoming ever more interconnected, but still vague.
Accomplishment of these goals won’t happen in the office or within the confines of any project. I won’t have a point at which I can say “Done!” or any sort of marker for success. They will simply be a constant footnote to my days. When I explain that, yes, I am a citizen of the United States even though I’m brown, when I answer my host brother’s questions and explain that what he sees on TV is not exactly how life up north really is, when I explain the party system of U.S. politics to my curious co-workers I am accomplishing the second goal. And when I write about my latest Chapin adventure on this blog or work on World Wise Schools correspondence for my partner class in Arizona, I am accomplishing the third goal.
I doubt I’ll end my service with any sort of proof or real understanding of the effects of my efforts towards Goals 2 and 3, but I’m a firm believer that this is the type of situation where every little bit helps. Even if it’s just me telling my host brother that, no, not everyone in the U.S. drives a Porsche.