Monday, September 19, 2005

what you don't know, now you know

i realized that few people i talk to actually know much about the peace corps, so i'll go ahead and fill you in on the generalities. i, in fact, do not know everything, but i probably know more about it than you, so be patient and read, maybe you'll learn something you never knew you wanted to know.
the peace corps was started in 1961 by John F Kennedy, in an effort to broaden american perspectives and increase solidarity among world nations. it is actually an independent agency in the executive branch of government, with its director nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate. the peace corps budget for 2005 is $317 million, or 1 percent of the foreign operations budget. there are currently about 7,500 volunteers serving in 72 countries. since 1961 over 170,000 volunteers have served in 138 countries. volunteers serve for a term of 2 years, which is preceded by a 3-month in-country training period. they are paid a stipend based on the standard of living of the country and region in which they reside. it covers food, shelter, and living expenses, as well as occasional business trips to the capital city. volunteers receive 2 paid days of vacation per month of service, and it is suggested that they not receive visitors during training or the first and last three months of service (read=visiting hours are April 2006 - October 2007).

you may be asking yourself, 'why would any partially sane person choose to torture himself in such a manner?' to which i would respond that no sane person would choose to do this. i think you have to be crazy. through my economic research, as well as time abroad and general philosophizing, i have come to several conclusions.

1. i like to travel. i don't mean travel in the way that most people describe it, which is defined as a one- or two-week vacation to a tourist destination where they can revel in the sights, sounds, and magnificence of far away places. i prefer an in-your-face, drag-down, beat-up, back-alley kind of adventure that leaves you breathless and with the feeling that you aged a year in a day. most people travel in order to avoid such ordeals. i like to seek them out. it builds the oft-touted "character", and makes for much brighter, sweeter, fuller memories.

2. the key to relieving economic poverty is education. what better way to put my money where my mouth is.

3. simplicity is my path to happiness. rural life in kenya to me could be the simplest in the world, and it is a perfect test of my ideology as well as my will.

4. read my previous post concerning change.

2 comments :

  1. Uncle Mike2:25 AM

    Hey Jonny,
    So you're just about to embark on your adventure... I want to send you off with an enormous BRAVO! ...and I feel sure it'll be an incredibly enriching, rewarding experience. My own Peace Corps experience in Guatemala sure was - it was life changing, in fact.

    Good luck finding that simpler life... LOL
    Daily life may look simpler on the surface - less "stuff" to clutter up your life, - but I found adapting to a new culture (actually several cultures) to be anything but simple. That's not a complaint BTW - it was a challenge - but a challenge I willingly, even joyfully accepted. And learned and grew from :^)

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  2. Poppito4:14 AM

    Jonatham Mark;
    Love you with all my heart. As a father, will always have this part of my heart that wants to keep your son from experiencing disappointment, pain, unhappiness - and to maximize peace, joy, excitement. But thats not what life is about, thats not my responsibility; not when you were a child, nor as an adult.

    I do commit you to the Lord's care, and firmly believe that his hand will guide you as well as protect you. Excited for you to experience all the challenges that will help you to grow. As I told you not long before you left, 2 years can seem like a long time on this side of it. After it's done, it will seem like it was over too soon. So enjoy every minute of your adventure, soak it into your being, both good and - not so. Looking forward to vicariously sharing in your experiences.

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