Today was a day that was composed of learning about global aid and development, hence the title. More specifically, we met with the community that we will be working with to improve their community center, as well as two Peace Corps volunteers. We met with the community members to both propose and receive feedback about our Community Action Project, or CAP. Our delegation split into various committees such as wood, painting, and open spaces. Each committee created a proposal around their assigned area based on the discovery questions that we asked the community earlier. At the CAP Panel, each committee presented their ideas and got feedback from community members. Through this panel, we gained an understanding of their needs and wants in order to create the best possible project.
After lunch, Alice and Dan of the Peace Corps presented on the mission and the life of a Peace Corps volunteer. They recounted their personal challenges, the mission of the organization as a whole, and what motivated them to join the Peace Corps. The presentation inspired a number of students while simultaneously raising skepticisms amongst others about America’s involvement in other countries and whether it produces positive results or negative. The differing opinions led to a vivacious discussion. Ultimately, the information we gained from Alice and Dan broadened our understanding of the complexity of aid and development. Despite this complexity, many members of our delegation expressed interest in joining the Peace Corps or similar organizations in the future.
At our nightly meeting, we reflected on the question of the day, which was: what are the principle factors that influence the development of a country? One factor that we all agreed upon was the significance of outside service. We agreed that rather than help, which suggests a dynamic of superiority, what is truly helpful is service. When assisting a country, we should serve their wants and needs rather than attempting to shape them in a way we see fit. We should be a resource and not an imperialistic power. This is what we are working towards with our CAP.
Everyone sends love back home and we can’t wait to see you in six days!