Making the Video: “Bridging Peace Beyond the Corps”
By Brittany Clark on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
We received unique and personal video submissions from all over the world for our My Piece of the Peace Corps YouTube Contest. Thanks to the age of the viral video, the world can also now watch and share these wonderful stories. Our next featured finalists, friends Paulette Waltz and Anita Husen, have even had their video shared on the Egyptian news website, Bikya Masr. In “Bringing Peace Beyond the Corps,” the women recite an original poem that describes how both of them were touched by Anita’s Peace Corps experience in Morocco from 2006 to 2008. It is yet another example of how although Peace Corps is often an individual experience, it has the potential to affect the lives of many.
Paulette and Anita were college friends who both deeply value the importance of intercultural understanding and spending time abroad. Anita is a Pakistani-American who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Morocco, and later returned to the Arab world to live in Egypt. “Since 9/11, I felt compelled to represent my country. We are ambassadors for America, whether we choose it or not,” say the two women in the video. “Peace Corps service was a lesson in patience at the time, and a lesson in gratitude ever since,” says Anita, “I have accepted my exorbitant privilege and have committed to a life of service.”
Paulette is an Asian-American photographer and artist who lived in Japan, and was visiting Anita in Egypt around the time they decided to create this video. She has seen Anita grow because of Peace Corps, and says, “My eyes were opened to a new world through my friend.” Paulette is a globetrotter herself (she edited the video in between Flamenco classes in Granada, Spain), and says of the submission, “ It was a great way for us to reflect and reconnect our experiences to an American audience. I’m happy knowing that we had some part in facilitating inter-cultural communication.”
Anita has seen her PC service live on through cyberspace in today’s fast-paced, technological world. The simple act of creating and sharing a video on YouTube is a direct approach to spreading the Peace Corps message. “Most people with access to the Internet are engaging in cross-cultural communication via social networks whether they realize it or not,” explains Anita. “My friend Paulette and I wanted to share our story, and we knew the easiest way to share it, with friends and family, and with strangers, was to put it online on a social network. So we gathered some photos she had taken, wrote a poem together, recorded the reading, and put them together on YouTube. It’s that simple.”
Anita leaves us all with one piece of advice: “Many people often say ‘I wish I would have done Peace Corps when I was younger.’ I did Peace Corps out of college, and I hope to do it at mid-life, and again at retirement. Others say, ‘I wish I had the courage to live abroad.’ I wonder, what’s stopping you? Sell enough junk for a one-way ticket, put the rest in a PODS, and get on the plane!”