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Monday, 5 August 2013

Peace Corps Guilt

Guilt. That’s the emotion I have constantly been plagued with while living in Cebu City. Regardless of the situation… because of my American privilege followed accordingly by American ignorance, guilt will surely follow. I have these negative reoccurring thought patterns. I can feel them wearing me down, testing my patience and I’m afraid of the person I am becoming. When I started this assignment I wanted to be able to serve others with an open heart. Yet I can’t help but feel that my initial idealism has left me feeling completely na├»ve and inadequate. I cannot seem to rationalize away the guilt that follows every thought and action.

How can humanity allow for such extreme wealth and extreme poverty to coexist? And at what point have we lost our humanity?  

I feel a constant and persistent guilt while living in Cebu City, but I guess that means I’m still human. 


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  2. Hi Amelia, happy one year anniversary. You're not alone in your blog post. Take a read at an Op-Ed written by Peter Buffet, son of Warren. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/opinion/the-charitable-industrial-complex.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print

  3. Amanda, thank you for your service!

    I understand completely the gaping, bottomless pit of misanthropy you're staring into-- I used to work in law enforcement. (Let me know if you have questions :).

    I'd like to say that in a world where numbers exist, there is always a ranking and therefore someone will always be the richest guy in the world and someone else will be the poorest guy in the world. You can't change that fact. However, you can change the level of destitution-- destitution need not exist while "poverty" always will. I think poverty is a catchy, arbitrary word (like the recipient of a million dollars trying to act poor, or someone who is "below poverty level" in the US, compared to the Philippines). Whereas, destitution...well, you know better what that looks like. There are psychological, mental, and physical measurements of destitution, such as obesity caused through malnutrition whereas not having premium cable is just a ridiculous "measure" of poverty.

    Also, I have heard it said that the jewels of the pauper are music and laughter; this was a quote about Filipinos back in the Spanish era. So try not to look at Filipinos from a materialistic standpoint. You and they have a destiny beyond the peso and dollar.

    Finally, pray. I found you searching through the SU social worker site. I was hoping you'd learnt something about the power of prayer from the Jesuits. Or at least take inspiration from the Saints, such as the Cure of Ars or Saint Vincent de Paul. I hope you won't be asked to go the distance like they did, but at least its good to know the techniques and the fears have already been experienced and conquered by these Saints.

    God Bless you in your endeavors.