“So I guess what I'm trying to say is, even though you can't feed Maria and her family and friends every day, at least you fed her for one day. At least she didn't go hungry for one day she otherwise wouldn't have if you hadn't been there. So at least for that day, for that one person, you made her life better.
And your friend Adam-like you say, you've been an inspiration to him, so that's another person in whose life you've made a difference, and he will hopefully to go on to do the same.
I used to think it was possible to save the world. I wanted to save the world, that was my goal in life. But then I had to face reality and learn that it isn't possible for any one person to save the world, but we can each make it a little better, and it really is the small things that count. I know that might sound sound cliché, but I've had to accept that it's the truth. We can each make the world better, as you're trying to do, but none of us can save it.
As for the guilt, I feel it to, believe me. I think many do. I could keep going on, but you've already recognized in her article that it's a vicious cycle. Sorry for the very long comment, but I hope it can help a little with the guilty!
“I asked these questions sort of as a devil's advocate, but I also really wanted to know the answers. And I got them. One volunteer told me that she really did feel she had made a difference, just by being a role model to a small group of younger girls she had contact with, by showing them that women can learn to read and get an education and get a job, and she felt that even if one of those girls finishes high school or goes to university and makes a better life for herself, she feels that 2 years in the Peace Corps was worth it. Another told me that she looked at the PC as a means to an end, and that the PC gave her the resources and support she needed to implement projects within a remote community, and that it doesn't really matter what organization, it's what you put into it, and if you work hard enough and care hard enough you'll see results.
After listening to their answers, I saw the Peace Corps in a way I hadn't before. It doesn't matter whether it's the Peace Corps or another organization or an individual effort, it's what you do with it that matters. And it's also about that "power of one" attitude, that if you help just one person, if you make a difference in just one person's life, than everything you're doing is worth it, because it makes all the difference for that person.”
“Thanks for a really interesting and thoughtful article about the Peace Corps, and guilt. I didn't do PC, although it was my plan for the first three years of university. I decided there were other, better options for me, and I had some issues with the PC, as I'm sure you do as well.
But one of my best friends joined, she was in Senegal, and I recently met with her and others who volunteered with her. I took the opportunity to ask them about their experiences and challenge them with questions about the PC that had caused me to hesitate joining: "Is the PC really sustainable, especially if you're only in a place for 2 years? Don't you think there are better organizations that don't have the same colonial, democracy-spreading attitude as the Peace Corps? Did you really feel you made a difference, or is everything going to fall apart now that you've left?"”
“I'm really glad Colombia is receiving some positive attention, and I would like to add to your list, because there are so many beautiful places in Colombia, all full of wonderful people. There is the Caribbean Coast, with Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta; the Pacific Coast, where you can go see humpback whales; the Amazon, capital Leticia, in the southern most part of Colombia; Cali, the salsa capital of the world; Medellin, a green city with perfect weather and many open air parks; and so much more. I've been living here for almost two years and I have yet to see everything. Thanks for your article!