Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Peace Corps Approach to Development

Unlike other aid and development organizations, Peace Corps rarely gives money or goods to the communities they target. Peace Corps offers people (me). And Peace Corps is clear: I'm not here to do anything for the community; I'm only supposed to assist them with their own projects. It's better for the community in the long run to do it themselves even if I could do it faster and better by myself.

Peace Corps defines our role as "learners, change agents, co-trainers, co-facilitators, project co-planners, and mentors." Peace Corps defines development as "helping people develop the capacity to improve their own lives." But Peace Corps also has two other goals: "to promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served and a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people."

Focusing now on these cultural exchange goals, here are a few pictures of where I live:

Wild bananas, with Josue, my host brother

The local soccer field

Stores in Vuelta de Jorco, about a kilometer down the road. Here they have real hardware stores.

My room

Sunset; view from my house

Also, I have a new address. This is the direct address to my host family's house and should reach me faster, but it's only good while I'm here. If you send a letter before May 1, send it to this address. After May 1, send it to the "Apartado Postal" address in the earlier post:

Alex Douglas
[address details removed for privacy reasons - email me or use alternate address]
San Jose
Costa Rica

Perhaps I should explain: In Costa Rica we don't use street names and numbers; we use landmarks, cardinal directions, and distances in meters. If you get lost you can always ask.

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