Monday, February 11, 2008

Something to chew on. Or: Besides pigeon meat.

So, first things first: I know there are Georgian readers of This Blog. Occasionally, I pick up a straggler from the internets, someone in Tbilisi or Rustavi who has been searching for "lyrics to misha magaria" or "where is shakira concert" or some other query for which this blog provides no help. I also know that at least a couple of the Georgian staff members at the Peace Corps office stop by from time to time. Ostensibly, they do this to make sure I am not saying anything that would reflect poorly on the Peace Corps (they will particularly enjoy part two of this post), but the real reason is, of course, that they cannot resist my mirthful musings.

Part one of this post, thus, is a question: what is up with the bird meat? Obviously, I would not be able to get an answer to this question from those I work with, since they hardly speak English (they are clustered around my desk right now, going through an English textbook, saying English phrases like, "I live at school," and, "kidney beans," and looking at me for approval). But today I was exhorted to consume what appears to be pigeon meat for the second time in a week, and I just don't really get it. Like I said before, it tastes fine, but it is tiny and thus very difficult to consume. Why bother? I'd imagine that it is difficult to shoot pigeons. My mental picture of doing so involves a Georgian man, standing on his porch with the shotgun one uses to fire shells at random into the air on New Year's Eve, luring pigeons into the yard with cornmeal before emptying a beltful of .22s in their general direction. I'm not 100% sure why everyone seems so excited when there's bird meat to be had. You have much larger birds in the yard! And you don't have to shoot them! Someone please edify me.

While you're ruminating about that, I have a far less frivolous topic for this post. I was talking to my mother a little while ago, about various things, and I mentioned an op-ed that had been written in the New York Times a short time before, and that had been circulated amongst volunteers. Basically, in the op-ed, a former Peace Corps country director in Morocco expresses his displeasure with the way Peace Corps works, who it sends where, and how effective volunteers can be in the situations in which they're placed. Our country director here sent us, after the email was circulated, another link, to a published set of letters to the editor, responding to this op-ed, including one from the current Director of the Entire Peace Corps, Ron Tschetter. I told my mother I'd email her this article, but I decided that I am interested in whether anyone reading this has thoughts about it. Of course, nobody posts comments on this blog despite there being quite a number of readers (I have conniving ways of finding out who you are), but I will put this out there anyway, because it touches on themes that I think about every day. This blog, for better or worse, is an "out there" document of the Peace Corps, so I'm going to refrain, I think, from discussing the article in detail, what I think about it, and why. I will say that I think many of the author's points are very, very wrong, but some of them are undeniably right. Life is complicated and hard to figure out, friends. That's the sort of penetrative, insightful, and original commentary you come back to this blog again and again for.

1 comment:

Linda said...

The Peace Corps is a very large organization working in a very large number of dissimilar countries throughout the world. A world that is changing very quickly. That PCV's need to be better qualified for some of the posts that they are sent to is a point well taken and I believe accurate. However, there are also many areas where PCV's are not only useful but a great benefit to their host country, city, town. It's a matter of fit and some rethinking of some of the more technical posts that PCV's are sent to.