Live Like a Peace Corps Volunteer Challenge
By Erica Burman on Thursday, February 17th, 2011
One of the hallmarks of serving Peace Corps Volunteers is creativity – and increasingly that creativity is being directed toward finding ways to carry out the third goal.
Back in the “olden days,” the third goal of Peace Corps – to “strengthen Americans’ understanding about the world and its peoples” – was something that happened after your Peace Corps service. No more. Today’s Volunteers are carrying out the third goal throughout their twenty-seven months of service.
We at NPCA have introduced you to Burkina Faso and Micronesia Volunteers John Garvey and Matt Hardwick, winners in our My Piece of the Peace Corps Video contest. More recently we’ve been charmed to learn of Fiji Volunteer Courtney Ray Goodson’s campaign to have a Peace Corps Volunteer appear on the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars. (She flashes a copy of WorldView in her video–what’s not to love?)
And now comes a group of Volunteers in Mongolia, that has come up with the Live Like a Peace Corps Volunteer Challenge. Blain Logan recently wrote the following to us:
This all started one afternoon while I was visiting my site-mate. While going through the normal sharing of in-country grievances and accomplishments she told me of how she dared her family back home to give up using a microwave for one week–but no one took up the gauntlet.
All it took was that spark. “What if we made a game of the whole thing, different levels with increasingly difficulty rules?” People could give up some things for a week, get a slight taste of Volunteer life, and we could tie it all into the Peace Corps 50th anniversary and the Peace Corps Mongolia’s 20th anniversary. By the end of that day I had much of the groundwork laid for how it should all work. We would have items to give up which reflected the varying living conditions of PCVs in our country. We would try to cast a light on the local culture where we could. And participation would be during limited times which would allow us to better court local media in the U.S. while making participation more communal.
“To help raise awareness about Peace Corps in the U.S. while giving those who take up the Challenge a small taste of Volunteer life”, the Live Like a PCV Challenge was born.
Blain hoped that Volunteers in other Peace Corps countries would join the challenge, tailoring the challenges to their circumstances and demonstrating the large diversity of Peace Corps Volunteer living conditions across the globe. So far Botswana, Kenya, and Georgia volunteers are all working on their version of our rules [In Mongolia the challenge levels start at Goat and move through Sheep, Cattle, Camel to the most difficult, Horse. Goat Level requires boiling one’s water, no microwave, cash only and no washing machine or dishwasher for a week.]
The plan is to kick off the Challenge participant drive on March 1. Then, during the first week of each month during 2011 they’ll be asking people to take up the Challenge.
So there you have it. Are you up to the challenge?