Sunday, January 09, 2011

Getting over myself

For the past few days I have been in one helluva bad mood. Stressed, frustrated, angry, and yelling at the moon, bad mood. Tonight I decided to get over myself by reading Peace Corps blogs. Reading these blogs, about volunteers, trainees, and other applicants helps me stay focused on what really matters. It got me to thinking, I don't think I have shared with the cyber-world (or my personal, private world) why it is I want to join the PC, and where I want life to lead me after that.
In the past few years I have learned a lot, some of it first hand, about having and meeting human basic needs. This has become a passion of mine, and something I can't let go of. When I was younger I was far more concerned about individual's rights (for instance, anything Constitutional). But I find myself less passionate about rights, and more concerned about basic needs. As you look at the world stage, you will notice that is the countries and locales that have trouble meeting their own basic needs that tend to have the most volatile societies and political systems. It is my personal opinion that helping individuals reach their basic essential needs (clean water, basic health and sanitation, education, and housing) needs to come first. Rights can come second.
And so I go forth into the unknown world of volunteerism, looking to help others achieve their basic essentials.
Then what? Where will I go when I get back from the PC in Fall 2013?
I'm hoping to Oxford. I will get a fellowship (which requires service in the States for a few months) after my PC service is over, plus some grant money as well. If all goes well, and the timing plays out just right, I'll go straight to Oxford to get my MBA in social entrepreneurship.
By the time I'm done with the PC, my fellowship, and then Oxford, I'll be just short of my 40th birthday. (Yes, fellow PC applicants reading this, I'm a few years older than most of you!) And so, my goal for my 40th birthday is to be well on my way to setting up my own teen shelter/orphanage in a third world or developing country.
I have read a great deal about the children in orphanages, in various countries, and what happens to them after a certain age. They are kicked out to become street children, or sent to live in mental institutions, without much hope of a life. I'd like to target this age group, and create something along the lines of a teen shelter or group home (still an orphanage of sorts), that is self-sustaining, and serves as an educational institution. What I'm describing here is incredibly vague, compared to what I have in my mind. You'll just have to trust I have a much bigger plan in mind.
I believe that regardless of the program I enter in the PC, and regardless of what country I am sent to, I will gain a great deal of insight and knowledge that will help me achieve this goal. As will the education I will gain through the Skoll Center at Oxford.
Thinking about basic, essential needs, and how there are so many people in this world who do not have access to them, anchors me back down. When I start to get frustrated about the little things that are not going right in my life, I read the PC volunteer stories and remember just how much more I have than others.


  1. Anonymous8:16 AM

    I have mixed opinions about Americans going to foreign countries to "help." Western medicine is a joke. Our own water is contaminated by governmental regulations. (Please do not try to convince me that chlorine and fluoride are essential nutrients.) Good luck. I'm sure it will make you feel better to help people in poverty.

  2. Who said anything about imposing American standards on anyone? That's far from the plan. There's room for improvement, and empowerment, but no need to make everyone the same.
    Please, spare me the condescension, you're never as anonymous as you think you are.

  3. Great plan! Hey, you may not even need an MBA to do the social entrepreneurship, but perhaps that is a credential still needed for that area?

    I like your thoughts about rights and needs. Maslow may have been right - can't move forward until our basic needs (food, shelter, water) are met. Love helps a bit too.

    Nice to see it all weaving together.

  4. "It is my personal opinion that helping individuals reach their basic essential needs (clean water, basic health and sanitation, education, and housing) needs to come first. Rights can come second."

    I couldn't agree more. Ask anyone living out on the streets about a certain "hot-topic" political issue, and odds are that they wouldn't have an opinion. They are more worried about when, where, and if they'll be getting their next meal.

    I commend you for all that you do, and will continue to do to serve others who are in need.


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