Morton E. Braunstein (Philippines 1966–68)
Monday, November 21
ANDY WARHOL PREDICTED in the 1960’s that “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Well, I was famous, rich, and handsome too for 21 months while teaching in a small city on Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines.
The constant attention wherever I went — focused on me, my American background, on my teaching — forced me to be more aware of how I impressed those around me. Naturally, I wanted to present a good image. Working on that image and the interpersonal relationships with co-teachers, friends, and my Filipino “family” contributed greatly to shaping me and my personality.
I learned a lot about myself, my values, and what is important to me as an individual and as an American. That is perhaps the most valuable gift I received from the Peace Corps experience; that is the springboard from which I enact John Kennedy’s goal of “Promoting a greater understanding on the part of Americans of other people,” and, may I add, of ourselves.
To understand other people we must first understand ourselves. Understanding is not accomplished in two years, however, it’s an ongoing process. But, for getting a good step up on it, Peace Corps is tops.
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