Guatemala: Personal Web Site for Angela Gipson

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By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 11:07 pm: Edit Post

Personal Web Site for Guatemala PCV Angela Gipson

Faces in the crowd: Angela Gipson /Galvestonian joins Peace Corps, calls Guatamalan job `perfect fit'

By DEBRA L. BYRNES, Houston Chronicle correspondent

Angela Gipson has always considered herself adventurous, but perhaps not on the same scale as her most recent undertaking.

Just a few days before Labor Day, Gipson , 24, said goodbye to her family and friends at her Galveston home and began a journey to Guatemala.

She will spend the next 27 months fulfilling her dream of serving in the Peace Corps. The decision was something she said had been on her mind for several years.

"I remember sitting in on a Peace Corps presentation during my senior year at the University of Texas," Gipson said. "After I got out of school, I worked in the information technology field in Austin for a few years. It was the (information technology) slump that led me to the Peace Corps."

In January, Gipson applied online with the Peace Corps. Shortly afterward, she received a phone call from a recruiter. During the interview process, Gipson informed the recruiter of her interest in working with women's businesses or the environment.

Just three months later, Gipson received her formal invitation to serve in the Peace Corps and was notified of her assignment - a 24-month stay in Guatemala. Prior to her assignment, Gipson will participate in a three-month group training session in Guatemala.

"The Peace Corps selects a group of volunteers (all Americans) to receive training together," Gipson said. "During that time, we live with host families while we receive language training, as well as cultural and technical training."

Her assignment, she said, will be to work with small family groups on growing organic vegetable gardens. She will teach the Guatemalans about nutrition and dietary issues.

The task seems easy enough for someone who participated in 4-H groups throughout her junior high school years. It is a hobby, Gipson said, that she would like to share with others. The hard part for Gipson will be learning a new language.

"I took Spanish in college but I'm not fluent at it," she said. "I have a sincere desire to learn, but my brain just seems to block language training."

Gipson will receive a living stipend which is equivalent to approximately $200 a month. She will accrue two vacation days a month, which she said she hopes to save to make trips home for the holidays.

Gipson , who has traveled to Europe three times in her life and various tourist spots throughout Mexico, said Guatemala seemed like the perfect fit.

"I would have gone anywhere, but I'm excited about learning more about Guatemala," she said. "The countryside is beautiful, and they have black sand beaches there. I'm excited to see what people are like who live in such a beautiful country."

So, for now, Gipson will put her plans of going to law school on hold while she researches another part of the world.

"The people in Guatemala are extremely colorful and friendly," she said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how people can live with so little."

Gipson is interested in sharing her experiences in Guatemala with others. To correspond with her or to view pictures of Guatemala, taken by Gipson , visit the Web site, groups.msn.com/aegipson.

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