Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Peace Corps Threatened By Short Funding
What's up with the news of the Peace Corps having to halt their new wave of recruits from being deployed to their prospective countries because Congress hasn't passed a budget? Aren't Obama, Bush, and McCain trying to sell us on the need to expand humanitarian assistance programs?
Well the Peace Corps is the way to go. These volunteers are ambassadors for this country. Each teacher, engineer, or agricultural volunteer represents a view of Americans that differs by miles from the asinine teenage flicks that inundate our movie screens, or the dirtbags in reality TV shows that flood international homes.
They get paid close to nothing and have to live the way their students live. I was a volunteer myself (in the late '90s in Sri Lanka before the Feds yanked us out when the civil war heated up) and was paid thirty dollars a month. I learned to make do with what I had just like the folks I was serving. It taught me humility and understanding which I sorely needed.
To hear that volunteers aren't being deployed because there is not enough budget is unbelievable to me. We spend so much on war where we end up killing and being hated. The Peace Corps teaches a different approach: building wells, ensuring safe water, garden projects, teaching English, job skills, and teaching about AIDS, safe sex, and other health related curriculum.
The Peace Corps supports over 8000 volunteers in 74 countries. To lose a chunk of these volunteers is a true loss to this country.