Stories

 

As I receive your stories about Peace Corps service, about volunteers you’ve known or about any other aspect of Peace Corps that you’d like to share, I’ll review them and post them here (as quickly as I can). To submit a story, click on the Share button above and fill out the form.

From whitneyfinnstrom@hotmail.com:
I am/ I was: a Peace Corps Volunteer
My years of service (or affiliation) were: 1980s
My Peace Corps connection is with: Nepal
I’d like to share the following Peace Corps story:

I was fortunate to be a volunteer in Nepal. The sights and sounds were overwhelming and so different from where I had grown up. One day I borrowed a friend’s tape recorder to send a “tape letter” to my family with various sounds from around Kathmandu. I rediscovered this tape recently and was struck [by] how young I was, and [by] my attempts to understand my surroundings through the sounds of the place.

From Mary Norman:

I am/ I was: a friend of the Peace Corps
My years of service (or affiliation) were: 1960s
My Peace Corps connection is with: Ghana
I’d like to share the following Peace Corps story:

My husband David I. Norman was a Peace Corps volunteer in 1965-8 teaching physics in a secondary school in Kajebi, Ghana. Upon his return to the US, Dave got a degree in Geoscience, and a job teaching the same at NMIMT, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Tech) in Socorro, New Mexico, beginning in 1978. Throughout his 30 years at Tech, he continued his association with Ghana, returning yearly in the 90’s to recruit Ghanaian students to come to Tech to pursue graduate degrees in different aspects of mining and geoscicence. Most of them came from University School of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa, in the Western Region, which is rich in mineral deposits. He also scheduled field trips over several years for Tech students in Ghana. The semester was spent learning about mining and mineral resources in the mining region of Ghana, and it was topped off by a field trip taking samples and experiencing life in Ghana. Several Ghanaian Tech graduates working in either education or industry helped with field trips. Another field project was to work with Ghanaians on filters to remove arsenic from water supplies. Our family spent 6 months in Tarwka in 1989, while he taught at the School of Mines. Our 3 children went to grade school at the University School, where the math studies were fantastic. Everyone was extremely friendly, and particularly enjoyed the children. The benefits went both ways between Ghana and our family and the Tech community. Dave’s association with Ghana over the years continued his role as a teacher– his students at Tech returned to Ghana further educated and prepared to work in their country. Our family and the Tech community surely enjoyed and benefited from their rich cultural traditions, music, and wonderful food! We ate ground nut stew and fufu many times, especially if someone returning from Ghana could bring the right ingredients! Sadly, Dave died on just such a field trip in Ghana in May, 2008. He came back to the US in a beautifully carved wooden casket, dressed in a purple and lace tuxedo! I know this is sort of a sad ending to Dave’s Peace Corps story, but your broadcast did bring back great memories of better times. I heard Peace Corps Voices on KUNM, an NPR radio station in Albuquerque, NM earlier today 9/24/11 for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps. Mary Norman, widow of a former Peace Corp volunteer. <normanm@nmt.edu>

From Rebecca Reppert:

I am/ I was: a Peace Corps Volunteer
My years of service (or affiliation) were: 1980s
My Peace Corps connection is with: Antigua And Barbuda
I’d like to share the following Peace Corps story:

“Iron sharpens iron,” my host educator told me, shortly after my arrival in Antigua, where I was to assist with teacher instruction. I was impressed at the warm welcome, and their already well-established system of instruction, which was modelled after the British system. It occurred to me that what they needed most was basic supplies, not professional development. I was assigned to a primary school to teach half days in the morning, and attend workshops and work with adults in the afternoon. Classrooms were crowded, with a board between desks to add another place. The “chalkboard” was made of wood. Instruction depended heavily on memorization, rather than books and workbooks. My term of service lasted only six months, but I want to share my story for two reasons: 1. funnel school supplies to the Caribbean (so many textbooks are thrown away in our country!) 2. advocate for better housing and security for female volunteers . It is important for me, after all these years, to finally come forward with my story. I was almost killed, through no fault of my own, and even after I recovered and expressed my desire to continue with service, I was sent home, to face unemployment and embarrassing explanations. Finally, I decided to go west to teach on the Navajo Reservation. I did that for fifteen years. Like many others who returned, I wanted to have the same sense of outreach and making a difference, and yes, living in another culture. I’m being concise because this space seems very small. If you wish further details, please contact me. I represent MINORITY recruits and victims of violent crime. I represent those who picked up and carried on with dignity and were role models and cultural ambassadors. “You have not done enough, you have never done enough, as long as it is still possible that you have something to contribute.” -Dag Hammarskjold Sincerely, Rebecca Reppert, teacher, photographer, poet <rgreppert@gmail.com>

From toubabou@mwt.net:
I am/ I was: a Peace Corps Volunteer
My years of service (or affiliation) were: 1970s
My Peace Corps connection is with: Mali
I’d like to share the following Peace Corps story:

From my journal: January 30, 1977; Bamako, Mali. I went to the Peace Corps/Embassy Marine football game yesterday, and much to my surprise and delight, the forces of good triumphed, with the Peace Corps winning by one touchdown. While there was a scattering of European and Lebanese nationals, not many members of the American community were present. For the Peace Corps, Andy Berky acted as head coach. Dave Dupree had therefore heavy duties as the assistant coach. Jerry Cashion was the ref., Neil McCann, Dana McDermott, Steve Smyrk, John House, Bob Ford, Dave Mattern, Jeff Dick, Jeff Klenk, and Charles Morgan were among the main players for the Peace Corps. Charles incidentally just lost his mother and shortly will be returning to the U.S.A. Kathie Keenoy (from Nutley, New Jersey) and Chris Opie (from San Jose, Cal.) were not there, although Jane Comstock was. Samir came for a while with Sylvienne. One of the Marines decided, periodically, to let off steam by riding his overpriced motorcycle up and down the field in front of us, the spectators. He wore a bizarre, stripped tank top, jeans emblazoned with lots of hardware, and mirror-style sunglasses. Add a U.S.G. regulation haircut. It did no good, none of it, for Dave Mattern scored the last touchdown for Peace Corps. Karen Zuckerkandel, Leslie House, Nick Hahn, and Dave Browne were also among the spectators. A number of nice looking French girls were there, as was a contingent of the bombs and booze crowd. Unfortunately, the French girls chose to hang around with them rather than the Children of Tomorrow.
Share