2004-02-25 / Front Page

Peace Corps proving to be positive pursuit

Working with Kenyan
farmers is rewarding
for Marlboro native
BY LARRY RAMER
Staff Writer

Peace Corps proving
to be positive pursuit
Working with Kenyan
farmers is rewarding
for Marlboro native
BY LARRY RAMER
Staff Writer


Danny CanarickDanny Canarick

Danny Canarick has turned his Peace Corps service into a win-win situation.

Canarick, 23, a native of Marlboro, is in the midst of two years of service in Kenya, where he is teaching Kenyan farmers basic business skills.

A college graduate with a degree in business, Canarick said his Peace Corps experience may open up career opportunities for him in international economic development. At the same time, he is enjoying the experience of helping others.

Canarick, a graduate of Marlboro High School, said he is showing Kenyans how to treat their farms more like businesses so they can earn more from their work.

The goal of the program is to give the farmers the tools they need to access and gain information about markets. With these tools, farmers would be able to eliminate middlemen who currently buy the farmers’ crops and sell them at a hefty profit.

"The brokers hinder the farmers’ abil­ity to make a decent living," Canarick explained. "Our goal is to teach the farm­ers to be their own brokers. To do that we teach them business, marketing and ne­gotiating skills."

Effective teaching leads to develop­ment that can last over the long term, the Peace Corps volunteer said.

"The most sustainable forms of devel­opment are what works. Sustainability is the key indicator," Canarick explained. "If the farmers form a relationship with buyers that lasts for years, our work was a success."

Direct access to markets was not al­ways considered by experts to be the ma­jor obstacle to economic advancement in developing countries like Kenya, Canarick said. Until recently, lack of cap­ital was thought to be the major stum­bling block, so an emphasis was placed on forming small banks in developing na­tions. Now, the focus has changed to facil­itating direct access to markets and help­ing farmers to form cooperative groups so they can more effectively bargain with buyers, he explained.

Life in Kenya has not consisted en­tirely of work for Canarick. He has started a regular soccer game with a group of young Kenyans and said he is enjoying the hospitality of the people there.

""You can’t walk more than five feet without someone coming up to you, intro­ducing themselves and inviting you to their home for a cup of chai (tea)," Canarick said. "It’s very nice. Everybody has been friendly."

The main difference between serving in the Peace Corps in Kenya and living in suburban New Jersey is the disparity in living standards, said Canarick, adding that he does not mind living without some physical comforts.

"If you’re surrounded by friends and laughing over a beer at the end of a long day it doesn’t matter if you’re in a beauti­ful house in Marlboro or a mud house in a Kenyan village" he said. "If you’re sur­rounded by good people and having a good time, you’re all right."


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