When first arriving in Malawi for our two-year stay, the Peace Corps shared with us the three goals that translate into the overall mission of promoting world peace and friendship. The second goal of offering a better understanding of Americans to the people of the country served seems an ongoing challenge. It is probably the most difficult to achieve because it means dissolving some pre-existing perceptions of who Americans are and what America is like.
I walked into the front office area of my new home and workplace in the northern Philippines. “Welcome, Ms. Kathy” was lovingly written on the white board. I went to the road to look back at the building and saw a big pile of dung just off our driveway. I asked my new social worker colleague what kind of animal left this behind and he smiled broadly: “Carabao! To welcome you!
Our interview with a local Native Guyanese, Angela is of the Patumunu tribe. One of nine Native tribes of Guyana! She was open to share her knowledge and show us how to cook one of her amazing dishes served in her restaurant Tuma Sala which is an authentic Amerindian cuisine located in Georgetown. We were thrilled to be able to interview her and get an insiders perspective of Guyana culture!
“We need diplomats and businessmen and women, and Peace Corps Volunteers to help developing nations skip past the dirty phase of development and transition to sustainable sources of energy.”—President Barack Obama during his University of California, Irvine Commencement Address
The first few days and weeks in Malawi can be overwhelming. The 20-hour flight seems endless, and with hardly any sleep it’s easy to get flustered. Reading any of the hundreds of books about this continent can never be a match for learning about Africa when living here. Years ago in grade school we were taught about Africa as a continent…