Hesperian Books Relied Upon Long After Peace Corps Service

Guest Contributor | National Peace Corps Association | July 31, 2012

For many Peace Corps Volunteers, their twenty-seven month stint overseas is just the first step in a lifetime of work for the benefit of the international global community. Lessons learned and tools used are drawn upon later, when the call of duty takes Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to some of the more dangerous—and important—places worldwide.

A resource that has been invaluable to thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers is the book Where There Is No Doctor, published by the U.S.-based nonprofit Hesperian Health Guides. Michael Simsik, currently the director of the Peace Corps program in Mali, remembers Where There is No Doctor (WTND) and other Hesperian titles fondly: “What I found most useful about this book (as well as “Helping Health Workers Learn” – HHWL), is the preface or chapters that relate to non-formal adult education.

While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin from 1986 to 1989, I referred often to WTND when attempting to find out how to treat whatever little thing was ailing me (or to do triage on a bigger thing until I could get to the Peace Corps office for more treatment). Despite not being a health worker, (my background is in natural resource management), I have referred to my tattered copies of both of these books (WTND & HHWL) for over 25 years now.” For Michael, the most valuable aspect of these books is not just the simple, heavily illustrated presentation of basic medical information, but also the way in which they lend themselves to community education...