February 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Tanzania: PCVs in the Field - Tanzania: Disabilities: Loignon.org: Jacob Podsiadlo isliving in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteer

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Disabilities: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Disabilities : February 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Tanzania: PCVs in the Field - Tanzania: Disabilities: Loignon.org: Jacob Podsiadlo isliving in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteer

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-21-200.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 9:13 pm: Edit Post

Jacob Podsiadlo isliving in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteer

Jacob Podsiadlo isliving in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteer

Jacob Podsiadlo isliving in Tanzania as Peace Corps Volunteer

Jacob Podsiadlo -
Living in Tanzania
By Steven Podsiadlo
Steven Podsiadlo

In one of his New Testament letters, the Apostle Paul noted about how his weakness had become his strength. I've often reflected upon that when I think about my son Jacob and what he has accomplished in his life as a child, teenager and young adult. Jake was born with a congenital birth defect which resulted in his left leg being amputated below the knee when he was 10 years old. As a young child he had several bone graphs and had a continuous series of leg casts until he was 4 ½ years old. Even though he was sometimes and pain and somewhat restricted, he maintained a cheerful disposition and a great sense of humor.

Jake is currently living in Tanzania while serving in the Peace Corp. He's had quite a journey, both literally and figuratively getting there. Tanzania is physically half a world away from Maine where he grew up, and the journey seems all the more remarkable when one considers how his disability shaped his life in so many positive ways. When his mother and I first learned about the problem with his leg, the future seemed bleak for him. What we didn't count on was his sense of humor, adventurousness, and determination to help him along the way.

Before he could walk, Jake mastered climbing onto the kitchen stove in order to pilfer the kitchen cupboards. Once when he was in a wheelchair, he got stuck in the open refrigerator when the door closed against the wheelchair and wedged him in. Of course, he took full advantage of the situation, nibbling of whatever goodies that he found. At out house, it was difficult to find an apple or piece of fruit that didn't have his teeth marks in it.

As Jake attended grade school, it became apparent that he also had a learning disability. No one realized the full extent of it until he was reevaluated as a freshman in college. His marks were generally good, and he graduated with honors from high school. He had accomplished this by studying for hours more than most could contemplate. This is a situation where, like Paul, his weakness became his strength. As a child, he had to learn to walk again with each cast change, all 17 of them. He wasn't able to with a few, but that was due more to other issues than his resolve. Many physical activities were very difficult, but he knew that he was expected to do as well as possible. When learning became difficult, he used that same resolve to master his subjects. A couple of years ago when he graduated from college, his grandmother said that it was too bad that he had his problem and how it held him back. I counted that by saying that it was his experience with his leg and his difficulty with learning which gave him the resolve to always apply himself to the fullest.

Jacob's overcoming his disability has given him many opportunities. His confidence and ability gained him respect from his peers and teachers. His interest in education has given him opportunities while in high school to travel cross country several times with a school group to educational conferences where he has had the opportunity to meet and talk with educational leaders. He graduated from college with honors.
Jake is an expert skier and has been an instructor for the Maine Handicapped Skiing program. He likes to go climbing in the White Mountains. The list goes on, but I believe that he didn't accomplish these things in spite of his disabilities. I believe that he accomplished them because of them.

Jake is now in Tanzania. Life is difficult there as people are very poor. Items which we take for granted such as a pencil, or an envelope that seals are hard to obtain. He walks to the village from his house rather than take the bus as he wants to become more familiar and accepted by villagers. Jake has relayed that it's difficult for him to walk all the time, haul heavy water buckets and the like, but he feels that he's growing and learning about himself along the journey.

I'd like to close this with a note from Jacob which truly inspired me. It was after he had gone swimming in the ocean after not doing so for 10 years. It seems that salt water and artificial limbs just aren't compatible, but he made a leg from some old leg parts and went for a swim in the ocean, and as he put it, "Not just the ocean, but the Indian Ocean." Here it is. Please excuse the spelling, etc., but he has very limited computer time on a slow computer so proof reading and spell checking don't get done.

Hello to all,
So today I did something that I have not done in over 10 years and something else I thought I would never do I swam in the ocean and the Indian ocean at that. I made a rig out of some old leg parts, some rope, some fire (fire makes everything better right, well it helps to make things seal anyway) and a whole lot of determination. I've not swam in the ocean as it was just so hard with my leg. Any leg that I could walk to the water with could not go in the salt water and any leg that could go in the salt water I could not walk with. Yesterday, I remembered something.. well two things that I say all the time and that is that you are truly only as disabled as you let yourself be. And to quote Richard Bach "If you argue your limitations long enough they become your limitations."
Life is truly too short to ever not believe in yourself and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to believe the things we believe in. I wont say it was an easy walk to or from the ocean, but the moments that I was in the ocean with all its warmth surrounding me and its sound filling my brain with tranquility were like no moment I can easily find the words to describe and truly give any justice to how powerful it was…. and do you know what happened then?….. I forgot about all the work it took to get there. I want to swim in the ocean more often and argue my limitations less often. That's all the self help I'm offering for free. No not really just had to share this experience.
Peace, Love, Lindi, Jacob

When this story was posted in February 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.

February 12, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 12 2005 No: 443 February 12, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Peter McPherson keeping busy in DC 12 Feb
Martha Ryan wins Award for pre-natal program 12 Feb
John Perkins reveals dark side of U.S. aid 10 Feb
Kathleen DeBold involved in lesbian activism 10 Feb
Jim Doyle to fix Wisconsin deficit without raising taxes 10 Feb
Chris Dodd proposes Class Action Fairness Act 10 Feb
RPCVs create Tsunami Assistance Project for India 9 Feb
Donna Shalala talks about her Peace Corps days 8 Feb
Senator Frist proposes Global Health Corps 8 Feb
Bush's budget to end Perkins loan forgiveness for PCVs 8 Feb
Tom Petri's Direct Loan Reward Act to save $18 billion 8 Feb
Izaak Edvalson helps educate a Doctor 7 Feb
Carol Bellamy condemns Female genital mutilation 7 Feb
Carl Pope criticizes Bush environmental priorities 7 Feb
Mike Tidwell defends wind farms 6 Feb
Kinky Friedman for real? Voters may not care 5 Feb
Bruce Anderson's Newspaper folds amid money woes 5 Feb

Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.
RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Loignon.org

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tanzania; PCVs in the Field - Tanzania; Disabilities



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.