My Blog Won the 2015 Peace Corps Blog Competition!!!! Here are a few photos from our winner’s tour in Washington D.C.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Over 1,655 people ‘liked’ my blog and countless emails reached the Third Goal Office on my behalf. I was selected as one of 8 winners to travel Washington D.C. from October 4-10 for a winner’s conference, following which, I plan to also visit my home in Pittsburgh, PA before returning to the Philippines.
In the course of one week my blog received 4,871 views representing roughly one third of the hits I’ve received since I created the blog. And the number of people following my blog tripled from 15 to 45.
Here are just a few of the comments I have received from readers:
“Sarah words cant express how happy we are to meet you and be your host family!!! God bless you!!! Where’s the turtle?????? Hahaha!”
“Hi Sarah I’m from Tanauan, Leyte. It’s really nice to read your blog. What a small world! We are here in Greenwood, SC and my son goes to College of Charleston. He will be sophomore this fall. My mom host a peace corps volunteers a few years back in our hometown. They were from Pennsylvania.”
“Good night and God bless you! BTW, I see your mom at the cleaners every once in a while when she picks up your dad’s shirts. I can’t wait to tell her we had this deep world-solving conversation. It’s very nice to chat with you and take care!”
“Kamusta SJ, I’m an RPCV from batch 269, and served up north in Baguio City with the City Social Welfare and Development Agency, now living in DC. Read a bit of your blog and media; love the creativity and curiosity. If indeed you have the privilege of coming to DC, there’s a bunch of RPCV’s from the Philippines here and we’d love to welcome you. Keep up the good work!!”
Thanks again for all of the support! Please continue to read the letter below to learn more about the mission behind my blog…
I remember learning about the Electoral College in 8th grade history class and thinking my future presidential vote doesn’t really matter. When it came time to vote at age 18, I dug a little deeper and discovered “the profound importance of social pressure as an inducement to political participation” thereby the weight of your one vote may inspire others in your social group to also vote, oftentimes for the candidate. Suddenly, my nominal single ballot could multiply.
This is the principle that inspired me to start my blog. We live in a global world where ideas can spread like ants, small but powerful and able to invade every possible corner of one’s home (See blog post: Ants). And so we must ask what do people tell stories about? And what stories need to be told?
Since moving to the Philippines my blog has been my primary form of communication home. Before I left I printed business cards with my blog address and personally distributed or mailed the cards in letters to family, friends, and friends of friends. Now my blog has been read in 57 different countries and not a day has gone by that it has not seen at least one visitor.
Still I dream of something bigger. Climate change is a real threat that knows no national boundaries. Our actions today will directly affect our future tomorrow. I want to inspire coordinated blogging among Peace Corps Volunteers in all countries. I want to see our stories woven together to present a global story of water, of food, of family…etc. Studies show that people are more likely to donate to a single individual in need than to tales of thousands in tragedy because personal stories have a way of making emotion tangible and the opportunity to make a visible improvement inspires action.
I would like to start a dialogue on coordinated blogging at the Peace Corps DC conference in October 2015. I propose that this year’s conference be themed around water. And water is life. Your water story is different than the one in my host family’s house and different still from each other community where volunteers are serving. Let’s use stories to fill the knowledge gap between consumption and environmental consequences. Let’s learn from each other to develop best practices for water use and other current issues.
The Peace Corps just launched a new 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Plan. How much more can we accomplish if our developing world stories inspire global action? Actions carried out by individuals in individual homes. Every product we purchase is also a vote. When I write a new blog post, I think about my audience… Americans, Filipinos, Canadians..etc. If I can get 40+ people so far to read my post “The Life Molecule,” maybe the conversation about water has started and my personal vote for sustainable water consumption now weighs more than just one.