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Author Topic: Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years  (Read 4641 times)

Offline markdripchak

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Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years
« on: November 23, 2013, 04:03:13 AM »
I served in Honduras (1983-85) and Paraguay (1986-89), working in community-based watershed management and agroforestry systems, respectively.  Our Honduras group recently commemorated the 30th anniversary of our departure from the US and our start of service.  Since finishing the second stint in Paraguay, the longest I've spent in the US was while I got my graduate degree, but even that was peppered with contracts overseas (Honduras, Mexico and Haiti).  I've since gone on to live and work in another eight countries, and now call Madagascar "home."

My PC experience really ignited my desire to learn.  One of the most important lessons was that of cross-cultural sensitivity.  While I'm probably not the most sensitive guy around, it quickly became clear to me that there were (and always are) many more of "them" than there is of me.  Hence, regardless of how important what I have to show them might be, I stand to learn a lot more that I'll ever teach.

Offline Marion

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Re: Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 06:23:35 AM »
I served late in life and I am sure that if I had served when I was young, right out of college, my life would have gone in a completely different direction.  Living and working overseas opens your eyes to the many international opportunities.  It also shakes you up and you realize that there is a whole world out there with places to see and work and interesting people. 

I met a former PCV a few years ago who joined the Peace Corps and became, as he described it, a "thirld world junkie", continuing to work overseas.  He came back to the states finally because his teenage kids had never lived there and he felt they needed more of a connection with the US. 
Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline Amelia.Plant

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Re: Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 05:40:35 AM »
Hence, regardless of how important what I have to show them might be, I stand to learn a lot more that I'll ever teach.


Thank you very much for saying that.  I feel like it is sometimes lost in the desire to be "of service."  And even from friends of mine in the states, I always felt that the sentiment was that I was changing the world, when in fact the world was changing ME.  And even when I read some of these applicants talking about starting projects in their local communities, it reminds me that projects are almost the least of what you will experience.  And that "helping" a community may be the impetus to have PCVs, but it seems to be so much more than that to me now.  Maybe I am just being a bit nostalgic, but I really appreciated you saying that.
Amelia
RPCV, Botswana 2011-2013

Offline RetiredFed

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Re: Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 04:59:18 AM »
I hope this doesn't appear as "shameless self-promotion" - it was my essay answer in my original PC application.  I've been accepted to Peru in September.  As an older PCV (61) I try to always promote PC service to the many college kids I meet.  I know at least a few of them have gone on to join PC and I'm so proud of them.   They return as much better citizens of this country (we sure need those) and also as much better citizens of the planet.

Why do I want to join the Peace Corps?  I know I will hear this question many times, so Ive thought about it a lot.  After much self-searching, I have to admit that Im doing it for myself.  Certainly, I know that PC goes into under-developed areas and helps the people improve their lives.  I know these people would probably not receive this help from any other source.  I know I will help many people improve their situations, and that will give ME a good feeling.  It makes me proud of myself and I love that.  Numerous times throughout my life, Ive helped build or repair houses, furniture, cars or boats for people who had no ability to pay me.  I did it all for free and leaving money out of the exchange created a much more enjoyable experience.  Im sure, after two years in a village, there will be no streets re-named in my honor, no school buildings will bear my name.  The enduring marks will be made on me.  I will become again a new version of myself, just as my eight years in Germany created a new me twenty-something years ago.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Still doing the overseas thang after 30 years
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 06:35:57 PM »
I hope this doesn't appear as "shameless self-promotion" - it was my essay answer in my original PC application.  I've been accepted to Peru in September.  As an older PCV (61) I try to always promote PC service to the many college kids I meet.  I know at least a few of them have gone on to join PC and I'm so proud of them.   They return as much better citizens of this country (we sure need those) and also as much better citizens of the planet.

Why do I want to join the Peace Corps?  I know I will hear this question many times, so Ive thought about it a lot.  After much self-searching, I have to admit that Im doing it for myself.  Certainly, I know that PC goes into under-developed areas and helps the people improve their lives.  I know these people would probably not receive this help from any other source.  I know I will help many people improve their situations, and that will give ME a good feeling.  It makes me proud of myself and I love that.  Numerous times throughout my life, Ive helped build or repair houses, furniture, cars or boats for people who had no ability to pay me.  I did it all for free and leaving money out of the exchange created a much more enjoyable experience.  Im sure, after two years in a village, there will be no streets re-named in my honor, no school buildings will bear my name.  The enduring marks will be made on me.  I will become again a new version of myself, just as my eight years in Germany created a new me twenty-something years ago.

I try to promote Peace Corps to older people. The younger folk already have great representation. Seniors have so much to offer. It is also a great way to rejuvenate.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur