What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right

By Karin McQuillan writing for American Thinker

Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, “a fecalized environment.”

In plain English: s— is everywhere.  People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water.  He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water.  Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country.  Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral.  The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen.  I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole.  Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures’ terms.  But they are not our terms.  The excrement is the least of it.  Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.

As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal.  In fact, I was euphoric.  I quickly made friends and had an adopted family.  I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man.  People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: it became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us.  The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese.  How could they be?  Their reality is totally different.  You can’t understand anything in Senegal using American terms.

Take something as basic as family.  Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins.  All the men in one generation were called “father.”  Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives.  Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty.  (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.)  Sex, I was told, did not include kissing.  Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas.  Fidelity was not a thing.  Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market.

What I did witness every day was that women were worked half to death.  Wives raised the food and fed their own children, did the heavy labor of walking miles to gather wood for the fire, drew water from the well or public faucet, pounded grain with heavy hand-held pestles, lived in their own huts, and had conjugal visits from their husbands on a rotating basis with their co-wives.  Their husbands lazed in the shade of the trees.

Yet family was crucial to people there in a way Americans cannot comprehend.

The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown.  The value system was the exact opposite.  You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives.  There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system.  They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa.  The kleptocracy extends through the whole society.  My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies.  The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store.  If you were sick and didn’t have money, drop dead.  That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father’s Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn’t bathing him, I wasn’t surprised.  It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom.  Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp.  After paying the bribe, you still didn’t know it if it would be mailed or thrown out.  That was normal.

One of my most vivid memories was from the clinic.  One day, as the wait grew hotter in the 110-degree heat, an old woman two feet from the medical aides – who were chatting in the shade of a mango tree instead of working – collapsed to the ground.  They turned their heads so as not to see her and kept talking.  She lay there in the dirt.  Callousness to the sick was normal.

Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It’s not.  It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.

We think the Protestant work ethic is universal.  It’s not.  My town was full of young men doing nothing.  They were waiting for a government job.  There was no private enterprise.  Private business was not illegal, just impossible, given the nightmare of a third-world bureaucratic kleptocracy.  It is also incompatible with Senegalese insistence on taking care of relatives.

All the little stores in Senegal were owned by Mauritanians.  If a Senegalese wanted to run a little store, he’d go to another country.  The reason?  Your friends and relatives would ask you for stuff for free, and you would have to say yes.  End of your business.  You are not allowed to be a selfish individual and say no to relatives.  The result: Everyone has nothing.

The more I worked there and visited government officials doing absolutely nothing, the more I realized that no one in Senegal had the idea that a job means work.  A job is something given to you by a relative.  It provides the place where you steal everything to give back to your family.

I couldn’t wait to get home.  So why would I want to bring Africa here?  Non-Westerners do not magically become American by arriving on our shores with a visa.

For the rest of my life, I enjoyed the greatest gift of the Peace Corps: I love and treasure America more than ever.  I take seriously my responsibility to defend our culture and our country and pass on the American heritage to the next generation.

African problems are made worse by our aid efforts.  Senegal is full of smart, capable people.  They will eventually solve their own country’s problems.  They will do it on their terms, not ours.  The solution is not to bring Africans here.

We are lectured by Democrats that we must privilege third-world immigration by the hundred million with chain migration.  They tell us we must end America as a white, Western, Judeo-Christian, capitalist nation – to prove we are not racist.  I don’t need to prove a thing.  Leftists want open borders because they resent whites, resent Western achievements, and hate America.  They want to destroy America as we know it.

As President Trump asked, why would we do that?

We have the right to choose what kind of country to live in.  I was happy to donate a year of my life as a young woman to help the poor Senegalese.  I am not willing to donate my country.

Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, “a fecalized environment.”

In plain English: s— is everywhere.  People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water.  He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water.  Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country.  Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral.  The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen.  I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole.  Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures’ terms.  But they are not our terms.  The excrement is the least of it.  Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.

As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal.  In fact, I was euphoric.  I quickly made friends and had an adopted family.  I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man.  People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: it became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us.  The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese.  How could they be?  Their reality is totally different.  You can’t understand anything in Senegal using American terms.

Take something as basic as family.  Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins.  All the men in one generation were called “father.”  Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives.  Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty.  (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.)  Sex, I was told, did not include kissing.  Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas.  Fidelity was not a thing.  Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market.

For the rest of the article, click HERE.

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Saving Babies and Where’s the Pope

by Steve Ray on January 19, 2018

Saving Babies and Time Off in Purgatory

As I write, Washington lies under light snow and, with wind chill, is 90 F. In most of the country, not too bad for January. In Washington – between the incompetence of government and a population that rarely encounters (read: “drives in”) snow – it means near paralysis. During the Cold War, I used to say that the Soviets were wasting money on nukes and sophisticated weaponry; a few well-placed snow machines would have crippled the capital of the West. But as decades of experience have proven, none of that will stop tens of thousands of people from showing up tomorrow for the March for Life, one of the most selfless public causes on the planet.

None of them comes for personal gain. But this year you can get a plenary indulgence for participating in the events. What a great, good thing: save innocent babies and get time off in Purgatory, too.

Pope Francis has recently – and rightly – been warning the world about the dangers of nuclear war. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two relatively small atomic bombs killed almost 250,000. Today’s numerous and powerful weapons would be much more deadly.

march-for-life-photo-2But for those of us marching tomorrow, it’s hard to overlook the undeniable fact that we’ve basically had four Hiroshimas and Nagasakis – 1,000,000 dead every year for the past forty-five years. And that’s in America alone, where abortion is still contested, even limited in many states, compared with the past, thanks to heroic public witness and action.

It’s a puzzle why the pope, energetic as he is on many good causes, has been so relatively quiet on this one. He speaks against abortion occasionally and sometimes forcefully (see Notable in column to the left), but he set the tone quite early in his pontificate in an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica about contraception, abortion, and homosexuality that left many pro-lifers speechless: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”

Presumably, this reflects some experience of the pope’s. But I know a fair number of pro-lifers – leaders and the ordinary folks who, generously, seeking no personal benefit, turn out every year in the cold and remain active back home throughout the year – on abortion, but also helping the poor, visiting the sick, and much else. The pope’s description doesn’t fit them. And what he calls “disjointed” seems to many consistent and comprehensive Catholic teaching that needs to be emphasized as such.

Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 9.33.21 AMIt’s doubly painful to learn this year, just days before the Pro-Life March, that Lilianne Ploumen (picture to right) a Dutch politician and prominent promoters of homosexuality, contraception, and abortion, not only in Europe but around the globe, was given a medal making her a Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. She claimed in an interview that it was in recognition of her work and that “the Vatican, especially under previous popes, had a rather rigid attitude when it came to girls’ and women’s rights.”

For the whole article, click HERE.

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Relevant Radio archives state, “What do you say to someone who says the Catholic Church is not the one true Church? Steve Ray provides clarity.

Giovanni, a Protestant, calls in and says that he doesn’t think his denomination is wrong.”

I certainly love good Christians who choose to be disciples of Jesus Christ. I am happy to stand side-by-side with them as Christians, especially in the current cultural wars. But in-house we often have to debate important matters, like “what is the Church?”

Not all views are compatible and there is only one truth — unless of course, you believe you can create your own truth and your own kind of “church.”

A spirited discussion followed. You can listen below. The conversations starts at 28:00 minutes into the hour.

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“Dear Mr. Bible Guy, Thanks for Confronting my Son…”

January 17, 2018

Posted in National Catholic Register: Dear Mr. Bible Guy Who Tried to Convert My Son and His Friends: These kids don’t just know the Bible, the Catechism, and Church history. They know how to think. Excellent article written by Jennifer Fitz Dear Christian Bible Guy, I want to thank you for coming up to my son and […]

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Last Call for “Saints & Shrines of Italy” – only 4 seats left

January 13, 2018

If you want to see more of Italy than just Rome, this is the trip for you. We start in the north and work our way south through Milan, Pavia, Florence, Sienna, Assisi, San Giovanni Rotundo, Loreto, Manoppello, Lanciano and more – finally arriving for the highlights of Rome. This pilgrimage begins April 21 with […]

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Are You Born Again?

January 12, 2018

I posted this for the listeners of the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio at 9:45 Am Eastern time. It seems that God is kind of predictable in a way :-) since He always starts new things in the same way — with “water and the Spirit“. Consider the following: 1) The first creation came from the […]

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St. Adam & Eve, St. Abraham, St. Moses – Did you know some Old Testament people are Saints?

January 11, 2018

Adam and Eve have liturgical feast days, so do Isaiah, Jeremiah, King David and many others. We in the West have not discussed it much, but the Eastern Churches remember them every year. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be […]

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Tiffany’s Story: From Mixed Background to Catholic – link fixed

January 9, 2018

Mother was raised Methodist and my father was raised Catholic but neither were religious when they were married. They were married by the Justice of the Peace and by God’s grace my sister and I were baptized in a American-Danish Lutheran Church in Minneapolis Minnesota as infants. My guess is the decision was more about […]

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Did the Bible Always have Chapters & Verses?

January 8, 2018

No! The chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are relatively recent additions to the Bible. Originally it was written in Hebrew and Greek and there were NO chapter and verse divisions–in fact, most of the time there was not even spaces between the words! Interestingly, in the book of Hebrews the writer is quoting […]

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Quoted in excellent National Catholic Register about why we Catholics stay in the Church

January 7, 2018

Why These Catholic Converts Remain Posted by Judy Roberts on Sunday Jan 7th, 2018 at 9:18 AM “Leaving the Church in ‘protest’ against perceived problems isn’t a Catholic option, former Protestants explain.” For the whole insightful and encouraging article, click HERE.

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Multiplication of Loaves a Miracle or Just a Lesson in Sharing?

January 7, 2018

When confronted with this at Mass a while ago I wrote a letter to the priest which became an article in Catholic Answers Magazine. Article HERE. The priest said there was no miracle when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. All he did was teach selfish people to share and they pulled extra loaves and fish from […]

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Day 8: Camels, Dead Sea, Jordan River and more

January 6, 2018

Will have video up soon.

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Bible Quiz

January 6, 2018

Which of the following are NOT in the Bible? •      Cleanliness is next to godliness •      God helps those who help themselves •      Confession is good for the soul •      We are as prone to sin as sparks fly upward •      Money is the root of all evil •      Honesty is the best policy

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Tear-jerker Homily at Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Upper Room, Mary’s Death, Dinner on Roof of Jerusalem…

January 5, 2018

Even though it was raining part of the day we had a marvelous bunch of experiences. Mass at Gethsemane is always moving but the homily made it all the more a tearjerker. Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, Upper Room, Prison of Jesus and “shout out” from Ave Maria Academy. Enjoy!

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Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

January 5, 2018

Since we are IN this room today, I thought I would share this again… The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous […]

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Via Dolorosa, Calvary, Mass at Tomb, Western Wall, Jerusalem Bishop & more

January 4, 2018

We started the day at 3:45 AM. But everybody thanked us later. Join us as we walk the Via Dolorosa caring our crosses with Jesus to Calvary and then for Mass at the Tomb. We also visited the Western Wall, met with the Bishop of Jerusalem and more. Enjoy! Holy Sepulchre Rest of the day…

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