A Peace Corps volunteer’s inspirational story about the power of small change
In 2001, Peace Corps volunteer Rajeev Goyal was sent to Namje, a remote village in the eastern hills of Nepal. Brimming with idealism, he expected to find people living in conditions of misery and suffering; instead, he discovered a village full of happy, compassionate people. After organizing the villagers to build a water-pumping system in the midst of the dangerous Maoist war that had gripped the country, Goyal learned how complex rural development truly is. He also witnessed how the seemingly lowliest villager can hold profound power to influence not only his or her own village but also the highest rungs of government.
Years after this experience, Goyal applied the lessons he learned in Namje to his work on Capitol Hill. Approaching Congress as if it were a Nepalese caste system, Goyal led a grassroots campaign to double the size of the Peace Corps. His unique approach to advocacy included strategically positioning himself outside the men’s room of the capitol building waiting for lawmakers to walk out. As a result of his determined bird-dogging, Goyal managed to make allies of more than a hundred members of Congress and in the process, he ruffled the feathers of some of the most powerful figures in Washington. But due to his efforts, the Peace Corps was granted a $60-million increase in funding, the largest dollar-amount increase in the organizations history.
On this path to victory Goyal endured a number of missteps along the way, and, as he reveals, his idealism at times faded into fear, anger, and frustration. In this honest and inspirational account of his life as an activist, Goyal offers daring ideas for how the Peace Corps and other organizations can be even more relevant to our rapidly changing world. He urges environmentalists, educators, farmers, artists, and designers to come together and contribute their talents. Filled with history, international politics, personal anecdotes, and colorful characters, The Springs of Namje is a unique and inspiring book about the power of small change.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.38(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.88(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The Springs of Namje" tells the story of Rajeev Goyal's unyielding work for the Peace Corps, both in Nepal and Washington, DC. His chronicles are engaging, beginning with his initial journey to Nepal in a time of political upheaval, and the inspired/crazy idea to pump water into a village from a river miles away – a project supervised by a 22-year-old and designed and constructed by rural townspeople, none of whom had any training in engineering. The narrative reads like a novel, as we follow Goyal overcoming obstacles, falling on his face, and learning lessons which help bridge to his work advocating for the Peace Corps in Washington DC. For those with any interest in politics, this section is particularly intriguing; the response of well known political figures to Goyal’s unconventional lobbying does not always adhere to expectations or party affiliations. Again, his successes and failures facilitate his ability to deal with a now-rapidly globalizing Nepal, and his return trips result in a wealth of new ideas and possibilities to help the country avoid a completely paved-over future, which nevertheless may still be its destiny. While Goyal’s adventures allow for the pages to turn quickly, the biggest impact of this book may be as a tool for those interested in bringing about social change, both in the field and politically. As introductory college or post graduate reading, the story can both inspire and serve as a starting point for discussions on the methods and realities of making change in an increasingly complicated world. Goyal’s trial and error experiences may not have always been successful, but the lessons that were learned should be passed on so that others can continue to contribute to social progress.