Congratulations to the Republic of Belau (PALAU) for graduating from the Peace Corp Program. This is a huge thing because it showed that Palau is much better off in terms of its economic and social stability than the rest of Micronesia. The downside, though, is that this will not help those that needed this program the most.
For my little island of Ifaluk, Peace Corp has carry on a different legacy and different meaning.
I am not hundred and thousand percent sure if president John F. Kennedy’s intention was to help those that were served or the servers when he created this program in his administration, but I bet you it wasn’t meant to create backlash or negativity to anyone involved. I am sure the intention was to help both the server and those served.
While reading the report on Palau and the fact that the Peace Corp program is closing, it struck me that Ifalukese weren’t wrong to make the conclusion they made. In fact, even those that carry out the program have made very similar assertions.
These assertions are on the opposite of each other, but they mirror the same view from different perspectives. In her article of April 22 in the Pacific Islands Report, Bernadette Carreone quoted Palau’s Peace Corp Director Renwick Nelson saying, “This is a mark of success in the abilities of two people to work together to achieve something good. Based on assessments and recommendations, we feel that Palau is now ready to be graduated from the program.” There is something I think Nelson didn’t realize and that what he was saying was, other people in Micronesia “are unable to work together to achieve something good, based on assessments and recommendations” of who know whom. lol.
Mr. Nelson and President Kennedy both didn’t say out loud that the nations the Peace Corp programs are currently participated in equates to some low developing nations where their people cannot work together, but the stigmatization of such a program can be seen on both sides.
On my little island of Ifaluk, Peace Corp has been defined as Ifalukese that come back from abroad with little knowledge and appreciation of the Ifaluk traditions/culture. In other words, they are just like the PCVs that know very little about the culture and tradition. They are the KINE, the laughing stock! Hahahaha.
There is a reason I picked the title, Peace Corp Program ending on Palau but Lives on in Micronesia. You may think that I was referring to the fact that the program goes on in Micronesia but the real reason is because of the many of us living abroad. I am sure one day when I return home, the younger generation would look at me like I looked at the others before, A PCV just arrived from Seattle, Washington and is roaming the beautiful beaches of Ifaluk, a fellow Ifalukese. Hahahaha.
I am a product of the Peace Corp program and I still believe it is an awesome program. I am merely pointing out that there are two views from both sides on it. Some may look at those places that the program exists, as places of simple and exotic cultures and life ways, but to the people in those places, the program lacks the experiences and values to exist. It may be looked at as strange and annoying. #Just Saying…