Peace Corps volunteer educates Tanzanian students through open discussion

Leopardprint

Dating is not something that students in the rural villages of Tanzania would confess to doing; often times admitting so could lead to expulsion or a beating by an adult. Asking questions about sex is off-limits as well, but from her classroom in Tanzania, Peace Corps volunteer Steph Wester challenged these restrictions and fostered openness during her two years of international service.

“To end every class, I told the students that they could ask me anything they wanted about sex,” Wester said. “‘I’m not going to hit you, I’m not going to tell anyone,’ I would say.” Continue reading “Peace Corps volunteer educates Tanzanian students through open discussion”

St. Charles, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Dennis Sheehan hikes with his family in Arizona. From left to right: Collen Sheehan, his aunt Pat, Peace Corps volunteer Dennis Sheehan and his uncle Pat.
Dennis Sheehan hikes with his family in Arizona. From left to right: Collen Sheehan, his aunt Pat, Peace Corps volunteer Dennis Sheehan and his uncle Pat.

Dennis Sheehan, 22, of St. Charles, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tanzania on Feb. 7 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Sheehan will work at the community level to promote agricultural practices, raise awareness on environmental conservation practices and assist farmers on how to effectively manage their natural resources. He will also train farmers to use agricultural techniques that will improve overall crop production and encourage community members to establish vegetable gardens.

“With having recently graduated from college, I was very confused with the direction of my life,” said Sheehan. “My invitation to serve in the Peace Corps really was a beacon that encouraged and excited me.” Continue reading “St. Charles, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania”

Southgate, Mich., native begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Batko

Clayton Batko, 22, of Southgate, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tanzania on Feb. 7 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Batko will work at the community level to promote agricultural practices, raise awareness on environmental conservation practices and assist farmers on how to effectively manage their natural resources. He will also train farmers to use agricultural techniques that will improve overall crop production and encourage community members to establish vegetable gardens.

“The Peace Corps had always been a dream of mine ever since I learned about it in American history in high school,” said Batko. “I hoped to join after college and make a real difference abroad. It was a dream come true getting accepted into the Peace Corps.” Continue reading “Southgate, Mich., native begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania”

West Bend, Wis., couple begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Schmelzer.Hatfield_Tanzania
Luke Schmelzer, 27, and Lucy Hatfield, 26, of West Bend, Wis., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Tanzania July 5 to begin training as secondary education volunteers. Hatfield will both live and work at the community level to teach general science, biology, chemistry, and physics, while Schmelzer will teach secondary English. They will work in under-resourced schools and within the community to address needs regarding HIV/AIDS, malaria, gender, food security and technology.

“I began looking into joining the Peace Corps four years ago with my boyfriend, now husband, as a next step after we finished our undergraduate studies,” Hatfield said. “We were both interested in travel, social justice, and not entering into the typical adult life – full-time job, kids, and buying a house – without gaining a wider worldview.

“We hope we will experience a different way of life and one that is not as focused on material possessions. We want to live in another culture and spend time enjoying the diversity of the world.”  Continue reading “West Bend, Wis., couple begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania”

Okemos, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Abuzar.Alishanov_TanzaniaAbuzar Alishanov, 24, of Okemos, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tanzania July 5 to begin training as a secondary science education volunteer. Alishanov will live and work at the community level to teach general science, biology, chemistry, and physics to secondary students in under-resourced schools. In addition, he will work on secondary projects related to HIV/AIDS, malaria, food security and technology.

Alishanov graduated from Okemos High School in 2009 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology in 2014 from Michigan State University. Continue reading “Okemos, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania”

Love and Peace Corps: Brian & Allison

IMAG1760_small

The Peace Corps experience changes volunteers’ lives. It launches their career or redirects it. It jam packs monumental lessons into two years and opens volunteers’ perspective to the world. And, for some, it leads them to love. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we bring you a series of stories from returned volunteers who found love through the Peace Corps. 

Couple: Allison and Brian Ristola
Service: Both were education volunteer in Tanzania, from 1995-97
Hometowns: Allison is from Sacramento, Calif., and Brian is from Rice Lake, Wis. They currently live in Mexico.
Their story: For Allison and Brian Ristola, one Peace Corps service was not enough. Continue reading “Love and Peace Corps: Brian & Allison”

Strong belief in public service led South Dakota resident to Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Smith.DJ_Tanzia

Dennis “DJ” Smith, 22, of Mitchell, S.D., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tanzania Feb. 8 to begin training as a health education volunteer. Smith will live and work at the community level to make a difference building the capacity of primary school teachers, students, out-of-school youth, community groups and health service providers to understand and promote health in their communities. In addition, he will help raise awareness about primary health care and other related health issues, particularly HIV/AIDS.

“I joined the Peace Corps because of my strong beliefs in public service and passion for helping others,” Smith said. “I hope to be able to make a difference and be able to not only teach, but to learn from a different culture and group of people.” Continue reading “Strong belief in public service led South Dakota resident to Peace Corps service in Tanzania”