From Ecuador to U.S.: Returned volunteer welcomes Peace Corps counterpart to America

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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”

Pleasant Lake, Ind., native completes Peace Corps service in Panama

Jessica Moore served as an environmental extension agent in Panama and completed her service in August of 2015.
Jessica Moore served as an environmental health extension agent in Panama where she educated her community about best health and environmental practices. She completed her service in August of 2015.

After two years of working as an environmental health extension agent in Panama, Jessica Moore, 31, has completed her Peace Corps service and returned to the U.S., to Pleasant Lake, Ind.

While in Panama, Moore’s objectives were to support her community in using and accessing resources to live a more sustainable life. By the end of her service, Moore helped install 22 solar panels that shed light to an isolated village. She also educated her community on sanitation, project management, business development, gender equality and youth development and also exposed community members to new ideas, such as adobe stoves, organic farming practices and recycling. Continue reading “Pleasant Lake, Ind., native completes Peace Corps service in Panama”

MSU Peace Corps recruiter learns patience through service

Elena Dulys-Nusbaum (center) served as a sustainable agriculture extension volunteer in Panama from 2013-15. She is now the on-campus recruiter at Michigan State University.
Elena Dulys-Nusbaum (center) served as a sustainable agriculture extension volunteer in Panama from 2013-15. She is now one of the on-campus Peace Corps recruiters at Michigan State University.

Before Elena Dulys-Nusbaum left for the Peace Corps, life was in constant motion. She lived a busy lifestyle, and patience was not a virtue that she maintained. Now, after the completion of her two year service in Panama, she works as an on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at Michigan State University where she is also pursuing her master’s degree in agriculture, food and resource economics.

When she looks back, Peace Corps service completely changed how Dulys-Nusbaum lives life. Continue reading “MSU Peace Corps recruiter learns patience through service”

Canton, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Panama

Roxana Gamble, pictured with her parents  Robbyn and Keith Gamble.
Roxana Gamble, pictured with her parents Robbyn and Keith Gamble.

Roxana Gamble, 22, of Canton, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Panama Feb. 24 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Gamble will live and work at the community level teaching conversational English and English as a Foreign Language in addition to co-teaching, sharing resources, and developing instructing materials with local teachers.

“I’ve always wanted to use the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in my life to empower people who haven’t been as privileged as I have,” Gamble said. “In my past experiences, helping people grow and realize the possibilities within themselves is the most rewarding work. I’m also fascinated by other cultures and am excited to spend the next two years really getting to know what life is like in Panama.” Continue reading “Canton, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Panama”

Mizzou grad begins Peace Corps service in Panama

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Jody Gerth, 23, of Gerald, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Panama Feb. 24 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Gerth will live and work at the community level teaching conversational English and English as a Foreign Language in addition to co-teaching, sharing resources, developing instructing materials with local teachers.

“I was motivated to join the Peace Corps because I really want to immerse myself in another culture for an extended period of time,” Gerth said. “I want to use my language skills and make an impact on a community.” Continue reading “Mizzou grad begins Peace Corps service in Panama”

My Peace Corps experience as Native American

Shawn Abeita served in Panama from 2007-09 as a community economic development volunteer. He is now a recruiter for Peace Corps’ Southwest Region. This article originally appeared Sept. 2, 2014 on IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com and on http://peacecorpssouthwest.wordpress.com/.

Growing up on a Native American reservation has profoundshawn_abeita_-_courtesy_peace_corpsly impacted my life choices and career path. My community members and surroundings taught me about the worldview of my people, and the knowledge I acquired from community elders continues to influence how I interact with others. As an Indigenous person, I represent where I come from along with my community’s core values, including love, faith, compassion, service, and dedication to community. These values are instilled in me. They are who I am. My personal goal is to be of service to my community and I have realized the acquisition of knowledge is one avenue to accomplish my goal.

Continue reading “My Peace Corps experience as Native American”

In Peace Corps and grad school, DePaul student explores passion for international development

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Carmen Fleming served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 2010-12.

As graduation day approached at Middlebury College in Vermont, Carmen Fleming realized she wasn’t particularly interested in the economics degree she had earned. She was more drawn to the field of international development.

“After college, the one thing I knew I didn’t want to do was work in an office,” said Fleming, who has lived throughout the country but considers Madison, Wis., her hometown. “I wanted to be working with people, and I wanted to travel. I had always known about the Peace Corps, and the more I learned about it the more it seemed like the right experience for me post-college.”

Peace Corps ended up being a life-changing decision for Fleming – her two years of grassroots development work made a difference in the community where she served and in Fleming’s own life, as well. Now, she’s earning a master’s degree through DePaul University’s Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. Fleming and all returned Peace Corps volunteers enjoy lifetime eligibility for the program, which offers financial assistance and internships at more than 80 schools nationwide.

Continue reading “In Peace Corps and grad school, DePaul student explores passion for international development”