Deep in the African bush toils a man with a plan. Wielding a sinewey frame and a vice-grip handshake, he has fleshed out a vision and has built several large fishponds by hand.
With no promise of financial gain, how many of us would toil for 12 years because of an elusive dream?
Meet the host-country counterpart. This is the rare breed that gets paired with each PCV.
He is the un-publicised link in the chain that is Peace Corps-style development. The minute a volunteer steps toward America, 2 years of human capital dangles by thin fibers of hope. But the counterpart’s history of initiative and tenacity gives little reason to worry.
This vocational third of the Peace Corps triad, is the only one visible and quantifiable. So PCV’s anguish over the “success” of a project, as is the default setting of a goal-oriented American.
Creating understanding, the second part of a Peace Corps service, is where true development happens. The manner in which a volunteer engages relationally with his counterpart relates directly to what transpires vocationaly years down the line. This can be the difference between thriving fish ponds and weedy berms 20 years hence.
But a PCV must remember that the medium is the message and a dry monument belies the many other invisible seedlings of change.
Posted from the aquasphere