New memoir explores white saviorism and U.S. American exceptionalism in the Peace Corps
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Cynthia Ann Caul published You Try Paa: A Love Song in Translation on October 8, 2020. The book is a Peace Corps memoir, detailing Caul’s time in Ghana in a series of episodic poems. The poems traverse a number of themes, including race, gender, and religion in relation to the Peace Corps, community and international development, and the author’s role in both. Caul’s everyday experiences raise questions about how white saviorism and U.S. American exceptionalism can be perpetuated and maintained by the Peace Corps and similar organizations, as well as how they were by the author herself during her time as a Peace Corps volunteer. The work invites a thoughtful examination of the Peace Corps and international development more broadly, as well as self-reflection among those who participate in these institutions.
Caul was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana from 2008 to 2010 after which she received a master’s in international development from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Caul resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family and works with a local non-profit research center focused on regional food system development. You Try Paa is Caul’s first published work of poetry.
You Try Paa is available through Amazon in paperback and e-book. Any profit generated from the publication will be returned to the community featured primarily in the book. Those interested in reading the book who find the cost prohibitive can reach out to the author directly for a free electronic copy. More details about the book and opportunities for discussion and engagement are available on Caul’s website.