The Reality Behind the Peace Corps

Apr 20, 2016
We Are Connected

Throughout my research on EBSCO, I came across an interesting conversational article about the reasons why people (namely Americans) volunteer with the Peace Corps in the present day and for what reasons they do so, and it made me think back to my own research question: Is the Peace Corps Still Relevant Today?
What I happened to find in the article, entitled "Counterpoint: Many Volunteers Only Serve To Promote Their Own Ideas," told of the activities that the Peace Corps is apart of today- meaning that the organization has continued its work into the present day- but questioned its legitimacy as an effective means for helping people establish and improve their means to live as well as possible. The authors, Jim Outman and Katherine Walker, expressed their feelings as such:
"Volunteers do a lot of good around the world--don't they? People devote weekends, or even whole vacations, to building houses for the poor under the name of Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers--also called missionaries--bring help to impoverished villages in Central America and Africa by teaching or tutoring, all at no cost. Who is going to criticize work done for others at no charge and voluntarily?"
The reality of it is that the volunteers come in with the idea that they are there to aid in the development of an impoverished development, and that their way of life is better, from where ever it is that they come from; when in reality the volunteers almost have no concept of that civilization's culture or way of life and it creates a "Poison Wood Bible" situation where the volunteers believe they know best and try to change the people who they are there to "improve."