As we talk about this project with friends and family (and sometimes strangers—we’re pretty excited about it), there are two questions that almost everyone asks. Today, we’ll answer both of them, just in case you were wondering:
1) Is it safe? That’s a pretty general question. Is the United States safe? Where my parents live, they don’t have to lock their cars, and they wouldn’t think twice about leaving the windows open at night. Where we live, doing either of those things would be a really bad idea. You always have to adjust your behavior depending on where you are, but as long as you adjust right, you can minimize your risk. Don’t worry Mom(s), we’ll adjust. We’ve done our research, talked to past volunteers, and will be making our travel plans in tandem with people who have walked this path before us. And it will be well worth the risk to experience—and help you experience—a completely different culture.
2) Why don’t you go with a bigger organization? This one is tougher. We did look into other organizations, and there are some great ones out there. Ultimately, though, we decided that two years in the Peace Corps was longer than we could take off of work and school, and the shorter-term programs didn’t quite feel right. Some seemed to cater to the volunteers, rather than the communities being served, and most simply planned a few projects for the group to complete, rather than attempting to put volunteers’ skills to the best possible use. We know we don’t have any really useful skills—we aren’t doctors, dentists, or engineers—but we do have some talents (we’re pretty sure…). We designed Project MicroMundo because we believe that it will allow us to, in the words of John McDonogh, “do the greatest possible amount of good” with the resources that we have. We will still be volunteering on a daily basis, doing anything the organizations ask of us. With Project MicroMundo, though, in addition to our manual labor skills, we can bring something a little more unique—the ability to get the word out, and make connections between communities that are almost two thousand miles apart.
So those are the two big questions, but if you have any others, let us know and we can answer those too. We welcome any and all feedback!