Are today’s Peace Corps volunteers over-connected? That’s the question I explore in this article just published by WorldView, the international magazine of the National Peace Corps Association. (A digital image of the article follows, with a link to a PDF version.)
Here’s a link to a PDF version of the article: worldview-winter-2016_ourdigitaldivide.
3 thoughts on “Our Digital Divide”
Very interesting perspectives on whether our ubiquitous technical tools are a plus, or a minus. Like most technologies – they require good user judgement for applying them constructively to maximize problem solving/ and positive results, or they can also be applied in such a way that minimizes problem solving/results.
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I was in Peace Corps/Nepal (1989-91) with Chrissy Kohrt, who pointed me to your blog last week; I’m nearly caught up! I’m still several years from retirement, but I’d love to do Peace Corps again – so I’m especially interested in how different the experience would be the second time around. These posts about technology (or lack of it) then and now resonate with me, especially, in this article, the perspective of the RPCV who noted that the person who holes up on Facebook now instead of conversing with neighbors in the shade is the same person who, 20 years ago, would’ve holed up with books instead of conversing with neighbors in the shade. I was definitely that person my first year in the Far West: introverted, homesick, and reading and rereading novels, Newsweeks (cover to cover, including ads!), and mail packets that arrived every 5 weeks. But I got tired of isolating myself like that and, with a move to a different post my second year, ventured out more, connected with my host family more, pursued secondary projects, and generally created for myself the experience that I had expected Peace Corps to create for me. The desire to “get it right next time” from the start is part of my motivation for wanting to re-up, in the hopes that maturity and life experience would keep me from squandering the opportunity again. Maybe it wouldn’t, but I’d like to find out. (But first I have to get my husband – an embassy MSG in Nepal whom I met there – to agree to come along!) Thanks for your wonderful blog.
Kate, what a wonderful message. I was really pleased to read it and learn that my blog has been useful to you. Doubly so since you are a fellow Nepal RPCV! I do hope you will consider becoming a volunteer again. It’s worthwhile on its own terms while also offering a fresh perspective on your previous experience. I was fortunate that my spouse (Champa) shared my enthusiasm for the idea. She just read your message as well and also sends her encouragement — to both of you!