peace corps purpose
You can read about my road to Peace Corps or follow my Moroccan journey on my blog, but I haven’t yet explained why I'm here. I wanted to share the Peace Corps mission and goals, including my preliminary plans to fulfill them. After all, these are the reasons I joined Peace Corps and the basis of my time here.
Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship, so cute. To accomplish this, Peace Corps outlines three goals:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
So Peace Corps Volunteers live in a given country for 24 months, plus a training period, to work towards these goals in different capacities. I am a Youth in Development Volunteer working as a Youth Asset Builder, but there are other sectors as well, such as Education, Agriculture, Community Economic Development, Health, and Environment.
Being a Youth Asset Builder is pretty vague on purpose. The job is really based on community needs, not a specific structure set by Peace Corps. Generally speaking, I will work with youth and women in developing skills that enhance their options in life. Often, Youth in Development Volunteers will start in their community with English classes because there is a high demand for this skill, which is often a huge advantage in the job market. With the youth I also hope to run a Spanish class, a girls’ empowerment club, art class with the preschool, and a women’s workout club. Another project I’m looking forward to getting involved with is the local co-op supporting female artisans in town. We’ll see which projects interest the community and become stable. More on all of these projects later. All of these seek to work towards the first goal, supporting the development of life skills, health education, and employability and entrepreneurship skills.
At times, I’m the only American a Moroccan has ever met. In my final site, I’m the fourth volunteer to serve, so many here have met Americans in the past. Regardless, I realize that my attitude and dedication reflect on our country, especially considering the proportion of “America” I represent in many Moroccans’ minds. Just being myself, telling Moroccans about my home life, my education, my parents’ careers, my family’s origins has connected me with them and opened their eyes to my reality. The fact that I even left the US alone as a woman speaks volumes about our culture. They know that I’m here, I’m happy, I want to learn and teach. Often women and girls stare at me contemplatively, maybe pondering their options because the one I chose seems so out of the realm of possibility. I hope so.
I am trying my best on the third goal. I feel pressure to make sure I communicate the truth about Morocco. I can only share my truth in the midst of countless, multifaceted perceptions. My truth is that Morocco has embraced me. A place where I thought I might have to explain myself and my country, they just didn’t even ask. I’m only bombarded with generosity and compassion. My website is key to this goal. I also hope to speak at the local middle school when I return home in April and try to write an article for the local newspaper. I can’t wait for friends and family to come visit me and experience for themselves my new home and its people. If I can be the link between Morocco and anybody, I’m all about it. This goal specifically will continue forever.