2006.10.15: October 15, 2006: Headlines: COS - Honduras: NPCA: Kenyon College: Jan Guifarro served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: National Peace Corps Association (NPCA): National Peace Corps Association: Newest Stories: 2006.10.15: October 15, 2006: Headlines: COS - Honduras: NPCA: Bylaws: NPCA: Appointed Board Member Jan Guifarro (RPCV Honduras) elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NPCA : 2006.10.15: October 15, 2006: Headlines: COS - Honduras: NPCA: Kenyon College: Jan Guifarro served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-250-247-216.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 5:13 pm: Edit Post

Jan Guifarro served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras

Jan Guifarro served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras

Guifarro was assigned to Honduras, a poverty-stricken nation ruled at the time by a military dictatorship, and lived in Tegucigalpa, the capital. There, she worked with the Honduran ministry of education, training teachers to integrate dance into the curriculum as a way of introducing physical activity to young girls, for whom exercise was deemed socially unacceptable.

Jan Guifarro served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras

Jan Guifarro '73

Simple as Jumping Jacks

The tumult of the times had a lot to do with Jan Guifarro's decision to join the Peace Corps as her graduation approached in 1973. "The Vietnam War was going on," she says. "People were looking at alternative ways of living, and there was a lot of political activity on campus. So when the recruiter came to campus, I submitted my application."

Guifarro had little experience traveling outside the United States, but Kenyon had instilled a certain self-assurance. "In classes, you're expected and encouraged to speak, not just to sit there and be lectured at," she notes. "It gives you the confidence to say, I can do something, learn something, and hopefully help a little bit."

Guifarro was assigned to Honduras, a poverty-stricken nation ruled at the time by a military dictatorship, and lived in Tegucigalpa, the capital. There, she worked with the Honduran ministry of education, training teachers to integrate dance into the curriculum as a way of introducing physical activity to young girls, for whom exercise was deemed socially unacceptable.

Supplies were scarce, so she tapped the resources she had brought with her: a cassette player, some classical music tapes, and the knowledge of dance she had gleaned from childhood classes as well as at Kenyon. In the courtyards of the elementary schools, she would lead students and show teachers basic exercises, stretches, and dance movements. One aim was to show that dance and fitness could be as simple, and as much fun, as doing jumping jacks to music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. She left the teachers with lesson plans, and many of them went on to organize student dance recitals with the students, she said.

"The independence and freedom I had at Kenyon allowed me to be able to go into a very unstructured situation and develop a plan and implement it," says Guifarro, who also worked with the Ministry of Culture, helping to teach classes at the nascent Ballet Tegucigalpa. The school later evolved into the country's national ballet company.

"In both instances, the most rewarding thing was bringing something new to the children," she says. "Life for many of them was very hard, and this was a way that they could have fun and express themselves. You really need nothing for dance other than some music, and your body and spirit. It was wonderful to see the children come out of their shells and dance."

Guifarro shared an apartment overlooking Tegucigalpa with another American woman. They lacked conveniences like hot water, a washing machine, and television, but the poverty around them put things into perspective. Many Hondurans lived in shantytowns without water or electricity, facing the challenge of survival one day at a time. "That a world filled with the resources we have does not simply feed everyone was shocking," Guifarro says.

The experience of dictatorship was also sobering. Guifarro couldn't help but compare Honduras, where the government controlled the media and where gun-toting soldiers patrolled the streets, quick to quash any disturbance, with the United States, where protesters railed against public officials and government policies. "It makes you think, well, maybe our democracy isn't all that bad, and maybe what makes us wonderful is that we're allowed to disagree and protest," she says.

After Guifarro's two-year assignment, she stayed on to train new Peace Corps volunteers. Later, in Chicago, she worked with Cuban refugees to help them develop job skills. Currently, she lives in Rye Brook, New York, and works as director of global consumer affairs for Colgate-Palmolive, heading a department that fields inquiries and conducts consumer surveys.

But she also sits on the board of directors of the Peace Corps Volunteer Association, a group of returned volunteers. And the agency has forever shaped her outlook on life. "After the Peace Corps," she says, "you never look at things in quite the same way-our way of life, other ways of life. The experience makes you a much more tolerant person. You want to understand different cultures and build bridges."

-Jennifer Goldblatt Van Allen '96

When this story was posted in October 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps Date: September 23 2006 No: 996 Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps
Senator Chris Dodd (RPCV Dominican Republic) spoke at the ceremony for this year's Shriver Award and elaborated on issues he raised at Ron Tschetter's hearings. Dodd plans to introduce legislation that may include: setting aside a portion of Peace Corps' budget as seed money for demonstration projects and third goal activities (after adjusting the annual budget upward to accommodate the added expense), more volunteer input into Peace Corps operations, removing medical, healthcare and tax impediments that discourage older volunteers, providing more transparency in the medical screening and appeals process, a more comprehensive health safety net for recently-returned volunteers, and authorizing volunteers to accept, under certain circumstances, private donations to support their development projects. He plans to circulate draft legislation for review to members of the Peace Corps community and welcomes RPCV comments.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

The Peace Corps Library Date: July 11 2006 No: 923 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory or leave a message on our Bulletin Board. New: Sign up to receive our free Monthly Magazine by email, research the History of the Peace Corps, or sign up for a daily news summary of Peace Corps stories. FAQ: Visit our FAQ for more information about PCOL.

He served with honor Date: September 12 2006 No: 983 He served with honor
One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on this website on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.

September 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories Date: September 12 2006 No: 984 September 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories
John Coyne writes: The Lion in the Garden 12 Sep
John McCain says: We passed up an opportunity after 911 12 Sep
Jody Olsen speaks at Headquarters about 911 11 Sep
Bill Moyers Returns to Investigative Reporting 8 Sep
Boating Accident kills two PCVs in Mali 7 Sep
Director Vasquez bids Farewell to Washington 7 Sep
James Rupert writes: Pact reached with pro-Taliban forces 6 Sep
Carol Bellamy to speak at Global Risk Conference 5 Sep
New trial ordered for Jerry Mark in murder case 2 Sep
Ken Hill to step down as NPCA Chairman 1 Sep
Clintons, Gearans dine at resort 1 Sep
'Chris Matthews' Turns 5 31 Aug
Taylor Hackford thinks Chuck Berry is a pain in the ass 31 Aug
John Kefalas alleges dirty tactics in house race 30 Aug
DRI receives Charity Navigator's highest ratings 29 Aug
Kris Holloway writes "Monique and the Mango Rains'' 28 Aug
Richard Celeste writes: Watch Out For Voting Day Bugs 28 Aug
Donna Shalala boosted UM's image 27 Aug
Leonard Robinson devoted his life to the underserved 24 Aug
Phil Hardberger will run for re-election in 2007 24 Aug
Snakes on the Plain - the black mamba 23 Aug
Eunice Kennedy Shriver still going strong 20 Aug

Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director Date: September 6 2006 No: 978 Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director
Read our story about Ron Tschetter's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was carried on C-Span. It was very different from the Vasquez hearings in 2001, very cut and dried with low attendance by the public. Among the highlights, Tschetter intends to make recruitment of baby boomers a priority, there are 20 countries under consideration for future programs, Senator Dodd intends to re-introduce his third goal Peace Corps legislation this session, Tschetter is a great admirer of Senator Coleman's quest for accountability, Dodd thinks management at PC may not put volunteers first, Dodd wants Tschetter to look into problems in medical selection, and Tschetter is not a blogger and knows little about the internet or guidelines for volunteer blogs. Read our recap of the hearings as well as Senator Coleman's statement and Tschetter's statement.

Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable Date: September 2 2006 No: 971 Chris Shays Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable
In a policy shift, RPCV Congressman Chris Shays, long a staunch advocate of the Bush administration's position in Iraq, is now proposing a timetable for a withdrawal of American troops. How Mr. Shays came to this change of heart is, he says, a matter of a newfound substantive belief that Iraqis need to be prodded into taking greater control of their own destiny under the country’s newly formed government. As Chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, he plans to draft a timetable for a phased withdrawal and then push for its adoption. A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War who said that if drafted he would not serve, Chris Shays has made 14 trips to Iraq and was the first Congressman to enter the country after the war - against the wishes of the Department of Defense.

Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance Date: August 19 2006 No: 964 Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance
The purpose of Peace Corps' screening and medical clearance process is to ensure safe accommodation for applicants and minimize undue risk exposure for volunteers to allow PCVS to complete their service without compromising their entry health status. To further these goals, PCOL has obtained a copy of the Peace Corps Screening Guidelines Manual through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and has posted it in the "Peace Corps Library." Applicants and Medical Professionals (especially those who have already served as volunteers) are urged to review the guidelines and leave their comments and suggestions. Then read the story of one RPCV's journey through medical screening and his suggestions for changes to the process.

The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again Date: July 31 2006 No: 947 The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again
The LA Times says that "the Peace Corps is booming again and "It's hard to know exactly what's behind the resurgence." PCOL Comment: Since the founding of the Peace Corps 45 years ago, Americans have answered Kennedy's call: "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." Over 182,000 have served. Another 200,000 have applied and been unable to serve because of lack of Congressional funding. The Peace Corps has never gone out of fashion. It's Congress that hasn't been keeping pace.

Support the US-Peruvian Trade Pact Date: July 20 2006 No: 930 Support the US-Peruvian Trade Pact
Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, the Peace Corps President, has been lobbying both Democratic and Republican legislators to support the US-Peruvian trade pact before July 28, when his term ends and a US congressional recess begins. If President Bush fails to get approval before Congress goes on recess, it will be a case study proving that the United States does not reward its friends. Please call your representatives.

PCOL readership increases 100% Date: April 3 2006 No: 853 PCOL readership increases 100%
Monthly readership on "Peace Corps Online" has increased in the past twelve months to 350,000 visitors - over eleven thousand every day - a 100% increase since this time last year. Thanks again, RPCVs and Friends of the Peace Corps, for making PCOL your source of information for the Peace Corps community. And thanks for supporting the Peace Corps Library and History of the Peace Corps. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

History of the Peace Corps Date: March 18 2006 No: 834 History of the Peace Corps
PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can 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: Kenyon College

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; NPCA


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.