Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On June 14 I attended a Peace Corps nominee party. I had been to this event before. Two years ago, the keynote speaker was a mid-career professional who described his decision to go and what a difference it made. This was right when I was thinking of applying, so it was inspirational to me. Last year I missed the speakers, but I spoke to some of the recruiters, who were mid-career, and again, felt very positive. This year the focus was more on families - there was a panel of parents who had children serving; their main points underscored that they felt their kids were well-cared for, medically and safety-wise. Then all of the parents with kids currently serving (and other relatives, including the niece of a 68-year-old currently in Botswana) spoke for a few minutes. This was somewhat sobering - I would say that maybe half of the volunteers had electricity. Maybe 80 percent had cell phones, which is good news. But all were very positive about the experience. Then all of us new volunteers stood up - I would say 20 different people were going to 20 different countries! There were a couple of other mid-career people (including a married couple - the man broke everyone up when he said, "my mommy is worried about me too" - nobody else going to Morocco! Someone in the audience had a niece-in-law (or something like that) who had been in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco working on water quality. No electricity, no running water, no cell phone. She was cold, and nice sweaters sent did not get to her - only more beat-up clothing did. So the woman said not to have anything nice sent. She said English-language books would get through - but for cultural sensitivity no romance novels (not a problem). Batteries won't make it through. I am going to call her to see if I can get more specifics but that was good info. Plus, I got a Peace Corps mug to match the one I got at this event last year - now I have a set!

And a couple of weeks before that, I went downtown to apply for my Peace Corps passport (you need a separate one, though I’m not sure why – plus, my regular passport will expire while I’m gone, so I have to get that renewed too. I just got my driver’s license renewed at Taste of Chicago so it is now good through 2011! So many things to think of…absentee ballot next). Outside the city/county building there was a Sister Cities festival. Casablanca is a sister city of Chicago so I had a chance to examine the artisan wares - carpet, ceramics, jewelry. One of the women manning the booth had been in Morocco in Peace Corps 3! (I wonder what number I'm in - it's 45 years, I know that, but I wonder how the numbering system goes). She loved it there and goes back every year. I am going to set up a coffee date with her. Both my original and my next recruiter were in Morocco, and I spoke to them at the nominee party. The president of the Returned Peace Corps Club (or whatever it’s called) of Chicago was ALSO in Morocco. I asked them how the Peace Corps has helped them in their careers and they all had kind of blank looks. Not the answer I was hoping to hear – after all, I am thinking of this as a career move, albeit an unconventional one. I guess that means it’s up to me to make something of it! The Peace Corps will give you a job afterwards if there’s a suitable opening. I looked at the web site and the salaries are OK - so maybe that’s an option, while I complete the Non-Profit Certificate and start the Family Foundation!

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?