Goyal, Rajeev*: The Springs of Namje: A Ten-year Journey From the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress (2012)
* RPCV Nepal (2001-2003)
Discussion: Friday, May 22, 2015, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Don Messerschmidt, 1218 SE 121st Ave in Vancouver WA, 360-256-8596. Participating in our discussion–via Skype from Kathmandu, where he’s involved in the earthquake relief effort–will be Rajeev Goyal, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.
Review: © Booklist: Goyal, the son of Indian immigrants, joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach English in the small village of Namje in eastern Nepal. In this very frank memoir of the hardships, failures, and successes, he recalls dealing with the discomforts of the caste system and learning that supposedly ignorant villagers had skills and knowledge helpful to developing their communities and nations. He is brutally honest about the unintended consequences of well-meaning efforts, such as building a water pump system to pull water up the mountain, a project that likely brought the villagers into contact with Maoist rebels. When his service ended, Goyal remained involved in issues of development, including boosting funding for the Peace Corps. He tells the story of his 10-year journey as attorney and activist, walking the halls of Congress, shaking hands and securing promises for more funding at a time of budget cutting, eventually securing an additional $60 million for the Peace Corps. An honest and inspiring look at the hard work and reward of development efforts.