North Dakota native finds a new perspective through Peace Corps

washing clothes

The in-home washer and dryer is a convenience many Americans take for granted, but returned Peace Corps volunteer Westen Thomas knows another way. For two years, he scrubbed and cleaned his own laundry by hand, under the harsh Cambodian sun and surrounded by the noises of daily village life. In time, the hard work became a reward in itself.

“I miss the sounds of roaming animals, the chatter and laughing of the nearby neighbors, and those one to two hours of time to just think about life,” Thomas said. “In a way, hand washing my laundry became my weekly meditation.”

Continue reading “North Dakota native finds a new perspective through Peace Corps”

Meet Your Peace Corps Central Recruiter: Krista Mastel

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Name: Krista Mastel
Country of Service: Mongolia, 2011-2014
Assignment: English Education, Health
Recruitment Territory: Northwest Minnesota, North Dakota

Why did you apply to the Peace Corps?
I joined the Peace Corps largely because I wanted to share my skills while traveling. With my background in anthropology I had an appreciation for diverse cultures but had yet to gain first-hand experience living and working abroad. Peace Corps gave me the opportunity to share my skills overseas while also allowing me to gain the cross-culture experience I was looking for. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Central Recruiter: Krista Mastel”

Mandan, N.D., resident begins Peace Corps service in Cambodia


Westen Thomas, 28, of Mandan, N.D., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cambodia July 10 to begin training as a health extension volunteer. Thomas will make a difference on projects related to maternal and child health and infectious disease prevention and treatment.

“Having an interest in other cultures, I wanted a unique cultural experience that would allow me to be fully immersed in another culture for an extended period of time, while being able to contribute my skills and knowledge to help a community in need and make a difference in the world,” Thomas said. Continue reading “Mandan, N.D., resident begins Peace Corps service in Cambodia”