Vivanco - Tarzan - Chapter 11
"It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative
action, that man finds his supreme joys."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
For the modern American in search of a state-sanctioned adventure there
is always the Peace Corps: that far-off other world where the privileged and
daring set off to do good and find themselves. More than 170,000 Americans
have served in the Peace Corps since the program's inception some
four decades ago. The authors of this essay rank in those numbers. Sheridan
served as a water technician in Kenya from 1988-1990. Price was a
secondary school teacher in Malawi from 1999-2001. We both joined, in
part, out of a search for adventure. The Peace Corps provided us with the
means to balance our personal desires with moral purpose, to experience
adventure in the name of both ourselves and the world. This impulse is
hardly uncommon, nor is the association between Peace Corps and adventure.
This essay, then, explores the notion of Peace Corps service as "adventure"
by drawing particularly upon the formal sociology of Georg Simmel.