March 21, 2001: Headlines: COS - Mali: US Trek: Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali was to help his village build a dam

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: March 21, 2001: Headlines: COS - Mali: US Trek: Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali was to help his village build a dam

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Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali was to help his village build a dam

Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali was to help his village build a dam

Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali was to help his village build a dam

Dennis McMahon's dream during his stint in Mali, for instance, was to help his village build a dam. They all seemed interested in the project, but he had one condition - they needed to raise at least part of the money themselves. Dennis had solid ideas for fundraisers, but every time he tried to implement one, something would happen and his plans would fall apart. This dam became an incredible source of frustration for him - until he had an epiphany of sorts.

"One day it finally occurred to me that I was the only person in the community who was stressed out about this dam. So I let it go. Eventually, my tour was over and I left," he said." Then I happened to return to my village a year later, and saw that they had finally gotten around to doing one of the fundraisers! They just needed to do it on their own time."

Patience is just one of the virtues PCVs have picked up over the years. "We've also learned a lot about development. For one, we've seen how dangerous it is to apply money to a problem. Solutions have to be generated by the community," Dennis said. "We've also learned that women need to be included in the decision-making process. We used to go to a country and, out of respect for its customs, try to work through the men. But we quickly learned that if we tried to do a project at the exclusion of women, it wouldn't work."

"We want people who are innovators, who are motivated to take something without definition and create a definition. We want people who can change their perspective on the fly, and change their plan on the go. We want people who are flexible and self-starters. You might be assigned to be a schoolteacher and show up and find that the schools are out on strike, or there are no books. A PCV would enter that situation and thrive on that adversity," said Dennis, who has already applied for a second tour.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.

December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories Date: December 18 2004 No: 334 December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
RPCV remembers Deborah Gardner's murder in Tonga 17 Dec
Maoist insurgents in Nepal release Swiss aid worker 17 Dec
RPCV Alison Williams exhibits portraits of Malian people 16 Dec
Former Brazil Medical Director convicted of drug charges 16 Dec
RPCV Joseph Opala researched slave trade in RI 15 Dec
Vasquez sees resurgent interest in PC 14 Dec
Senator who wanted duel with RPCV joins Fox 14 Dec
NPCA planning National Day of Action for PC funding 13 Dec
RPCV "Harry" Chandler votes in Electoral College 13 Dec
Critic says Moyers delivered neo-Marxist propaganda 13 Dec
Micronesia RPCV Walter Cavanagh has 1,496 credit cards 13 Dec
PC "Survivor" Julie Berry headed for California 11 Dec
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Story Source: US Trek

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