March 5, 2005: Headlines: The Third Goal: The Desert Sun: RPCV Lee Wilson, organized an event for his school for Peace Corps day and convinced 11 other volunteers to share their experiences

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: The Third Goal : The Peace Corps and the Third Goal: March 5, 2005: Headlines: The Third Goal: The Desert Sun: RPCV Lee Wilson, organized an event for his school for Peace Corps day and convinced 11 other volunteers to share their experiences

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RPCV Lee Wilson, organized an event for his school for Peace Corps day and convinced 11 other volunteers to share their experiences

RPCV Lee Wilson, organized an event  for his school for Peace Corps day and convinced 11 other volunteers to share their experiences

RPCV Lee Wilson, organized an event for his school for Peace Corps day and convinced 11 other volunteers to share their experiences

Teens learn exotic side of volunteering
Peace Corps share tales of remote nations, encouraging students to consider signing on

Caption: Cathedral City High School sophomore Hath Ma, 15, holds a bow originally from Nigeria brought to the United States of America by Joanna Stark (left) during her volunteer work with the Peace Corps in Nigeria from 1966 to 1968. Photo: Omar Ornelas, The Desert Su

Jennifer Larson
The Desert Sun
March 5, 2005
The African countries of Kenya and Ghana are a long, long way from Cathedral City High School.

Such a long way, in fact, that sophomores Brandi Smith, 15, and Tana Yurivilca, 15, and freshman Alvaro Orellana, 14, didn't really know much at all about them.

"It's different from here," Yurivilca said.

But thanks to their school's commemoration of Peace Corps Day 2005 on Friday, they got an introductory course on exotic countries from 'round the world from Peace Corps volunteers who actually lived there.

Teacher Lee Wilson, himself a former Peace Corps volunteer, organized the event and convinced 11 other volunteers, many from the Coachella Valley, to share their experiences.

The students learned that volunteer Jill Nation lived in a rainy part of Kenya for two years while she taught school. She lived in a mud hut that had a tin roof so the rain could run off into collection barrels to be used for washing and drinking.

Sophomore Diana Medero, 15, was riveted by a presentation by Erin Urbanic, who lived in Ghana from 2000-2001, and Joanna Stark, a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria from 1966-1968.

"For them to come and talk to us and bring shoes and things was very interesting," she said, referring to a pair of decorated slippers that were custom-made for Stark when she lived in Nigeria. "You got to see real things."

In fact, now Medero thinks she might like to live in another country and learn how the people live firsthand.

"You can also have respect for them and learn how they are," she added.

Teacher Kim Robinson hopes that many of the Cathedral City High students learned a similar lesson from the Peace Corps volunteers.

"So many of them have never travelled," Robinson said of her students. "This is such a great opportunity for them to understand what goes on in the rest of the world and how good we have it here."

That's true, agreed Michael Green, 15, a sophomore and member of the school's International Club.

Although he has been to Mexico, Green hasn't visited any other countries yet, and neither have most of his classmates. Peace Corps Day was a good chance to show them a variety of other countries that they might not even know about.

"There's other continents besides North America," he said. "There's not just Canada and Mexico."

International Club president Jessica Lally, 17, said she doesn't necessarily expect everyone to want to join the Peace Corps.

"If they could just say, 'One day, maybe I could travel somewhere else so I could learn more about their culture,'" said Lally, who already has visited a lengthy list of countries. "If it sparks their curiosity, then that's enough."

Orellana's interest was definitely piqued, both in Africa and in the Peace Corps.

"If they would come up to me and say, 'Do you want to go to the Peace Corps?' I'd say, 'Yeah,'" he said, adding that he'd love to travel and meet new people.

"And help people," said Smith, who also was intrigued by Nation's stories, although a little concerned to learn that some tribes marry girls off at age 14 or 15. "I want to go there, actually."

And the stories were enthralling.

Megan Fri, who spent two years in Kiribati in the southeast Pacific Ocean, described her experience shark-fishing in a wobbly outrigger canoe.

"We ended up feeding the village for two months off that one shark," she told a group of students, who immediately wondered out loud how that was possible without refrigeration.

Evelyn Chander gave a demonstration of how to step into a scarf-like garment that Thai people wear when washing. For several weeks, she too, washed up twice a day, outside, like her hosts.

"I was very self-conscious every time I did it," she admitted.

The Peace Corps volunteers did field a few questions from students for whom the idea of two years in a foreign country halfway around the globe was a little intimidating.

"What happens if you're there and you want to go home?" a student asked.

"Then you go home," Fri said. "It's volunteer. The Peace Corps really wants you to stay there for two years because they invested a lot of time and money in you ... but it's not like the military. You don't have to stay."

But several of them pointed out that they wanted to stay.

"The hardest part about the whole trip, the whole tour, was having to come home," said Elsie Danielsson, who spent two years in Kyrgyzstan in the late 1990s. "I'm even considering going back, and I'm 71 years old."

Wilson said he's not sure if any Cathedral City High students have pursued the Peace Corps after college. But he hopes so.

"There's absolutely somebody here that will do this one day," he said.


The following volunteers spoke to the world history classes at Cathedral City High School on Friday:

# Rhys Evans (Poland)

# Tiffany Gilmartin (Latvia)

# Katrina Lambert-Darnell (Ukdraine)

# Erin Urbanic (Ghana)

# Joanna Stark (Nigeria)

# Jill Nation (Kenya)

# Kathy Buescher-Simon (Senegal)

# Megan Fri (Kiribati)

# Evelyn Chander (Thailand)

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

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
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RPCVs Sam Farr, Chris Shays, Thomas Petri, James Walsh, and Mike Honda have asked their colleagues in Congress to add their names to a letter they have written to the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, asking for full funding of $345 M for the Peace Corps in 2006. As a follow-on to Peace Corps week, please read the letter and call your Representative in Congress and ask him or her to add their name to the letter.

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RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

March 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: March 5 2005 No: 476 March 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
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Elaine Chao Leads Delegation to Uruguay 28 Feb
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Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim's photography on exhibit 27 Feb
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March 1: National Day of Action Date: February 28 2005 No: 471 March 1: National Day of Action
Tuesday, March 1, is the NPCA's National Day of Action. Please call your Senators and ask them to support the President's proposed $27 Million budget increase for the Peace Corps for FY2006 and ask them to oppose the elimination of Perkins loans that benefit Peace Corps volunteers from low-income backgrounds. Follow this link for step-by-step information on how to make your calls. Then take our poll and leave feedback on how the calls went.
Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler  Date: February 26 2005 No: 457 Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler
Coates Redmon, a staffer in Sargent Shriver's Peace Corps, died February 22 in Washington, DC. Her book "Come as You Are" is considered to be one of the finest (and most entertaining) recountings of the birth of the Peace Corps and how it was literally thrown together in a matter of weeks. If you want to know what it felt like to be young and idealistic in the 1960's, get an out-of-print copy. We honor her memory.
Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
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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.
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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.

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Story Source: The Desert Sun

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; The Third Goal



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