Why Didn’T You Call? A Peace Corps Panama Exposé

By Michael Wald
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This is an account of the promise and failure of the Peace Corps. With a critical eye toward making improvements, Michael Wald takes the reader on a journey through the highs and lows of working in the developing world. Here, he recounts how he worked around flaws in Peace Corps' system to achieve a project that helped thousands of people better their lives in Panama.

For those considering volunteering abroad, this book offers true-to-life portrayals of development work rather than the overly flattering portrayal used to recruit volunteers. If future development professionals and volunteers take Wald’s eye-opening observations to heart, they can start with an accurate view of what they are doing and tweak their efforts to better portray the United States in the eyes of the world. 

About the Author

Motivated to improve the lives of others, Michael Wald became a lawyer and worked most of his career as a "people's lawyer," representing the ordinary person, not large corporate interests. He has also served on the board and as an officer of many civic organizations. Wald’s time in Peace Corps was but one of his efforts to make the world a better place

Wald loves travel and has lived in four different foreign destinations, in addition to his years in Panama. He has two fantastic children, three grandchildren, and a wonderful wife and life. He retired to Albuquerque to be near the mountains where he can find solitude, exercise, and admire the famous red-sky sunsets of New Mexico.

Published: 2005
Page Count: 32

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J
Jim Lewis
This book

Michael Wald's book is excellent for anyone interested in understanding what it means to cross into a different culture. Coming to Panama with his wife, a professor, Michael of course had some first-world expectations of what he could bring, but he also brought an essential understanding that he would have to listen and to respect the local culture. He describes his dealings with local and Peace Corps leadership, and he finally finds (spoiler alert) what he and his wife can do to create some needed and wanted change. It's a cautionary tale, and a compelling one. Thank you, Michael, for this book.