As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, Clay Martin became close with his Ecuadorian counterpart, Alejandro. The Cincinnati native left Ecuador in 2010 and served in Peace Corps Panama, from 2011-13, but always remained close with Alejandro. Earlier this year, Alejandro visited Martin, who currently works as a human resource consultant for dairy farms and acts as a translator and liaison with Hispanic workers in Ithaca, New York. Below, Martin describes reuniting with Alejandro and sharing his home and culture with his Ecuadorian friend.
Alejandro was raised in an isolated village, living his atavistic and vibrant culture in the lowland jungles of Ecuador. Growing up, he had limited access outside of his village and little exposure to people other than his own tribe. Alejandro eventually became a husband, father, shaman, farmer, cultural promoter and community leader. When Alejandro was 45 and I was 23, I had the privilege to go live and work with his village as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Three months after living with Alejandro’s family I wrote the following in my journal: “I honestly don’t think things could be any better. Right now I’m smiling and nodding my head as I listen to their traditional drums and think about the many paths that are being made for the future. I can already sense that my experience here is the beginning of something huge.” At that moment, I could not even fathom how “huge” that “something” was and where our friendship would take us seven years later. Continue reading “From Ecuador to U.S.: Returned volunteer welcomes Peace Corps counterpart to America”