Peace Corps is very concerned with proving that what I am doing here is worthwhile; is developing the community. It wants to prove it with facts and figures, it needs to be able to justify its investment in me in a powerpoint presentation in a hole down some beige Washington corridor. It needs to show that with more money it will do more ‘good’. Aid organizations are geared to justifying their own existence, it’s their primary objective, aim, outcome.
They always hypothesize that they are doing good. This skews everything.
I justify my existence here through selfishness, acknowledged selfishness. I try to be honest. I am learning, I am developing, I am changing. Peace Corps, I believe, is a selfish American organization, it just can’t acknowledge it. It shrouds itself in altruism. It’s primary unspoken goal is developing us, the Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), the American citizen. It’s cheap training. They pay me $200 per month. I come back to America with better teaching skills, better leadership skills, better skills dealing with different cultures, the ability to work abroad, the understanding of a large organization. Money well spent.
$200 is a lot of money when living in a Gambian village. It’s a lot less than I’m used to and I’ve never had very high paid jobs by western standards. Even after spending a lot of my $200 on my school and my compound I am still able to save up money in village.