17 January 2012

Giving back

This morning I woke up and pretty much completely re-wrote the proposal for a grant I am working on to fund my post-Peace Corps (PPC) adventures. While I realize you may still be confused as to just what that is if you have not spoken to me recently (sorry about that), I wanted to share a paragraph I wrote that I decided to cut because it did not fit with the flow of the rest of the proposal. However, I did make sure to include the main points of the paragraph (keeping cultures involved and giving back) in the actual proposal.

In 2010 I came to Moldova to teach English as a Volunteer. One secondary activity I participated in was spending a weekend in an orphanage where an American missionary group had been just months earlier to build new beds for the children. They brought with them many new toys and lacked structure when interacting with the children. When fifteen Peace Corps Volunteers showed up for a weekend of activities, our goals were structure and showing them we care. Upon arrival, the children immediately thought taking supplies, cameras, and phones from our hands, hitting our behinds, and climbing on us was acceptable. This is the message that was left by the missionaries who came through months earlier. Those missionaries thought they finished the job, so they will never return but we will. My project does not have an end because there will always be cultures to share and I will return and continue the contact after I leave. I do not want to leave the students behind and make them feel like they are just a project for me. I want them to continuously be involved in the project. I will be keeping a blog that will be very image heavy for those people that do not speak English, because this is a project more about the images and the thoughts they provoke and less about the words. As I document their culture they will see it, and as I document another culture, they will also see it. When I return to the schools to show the images, that is when they will get the structured message that comes with the photographs.

(on a side note: grant writing is very hard.)

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