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James A. West ( -
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 11:27 am:   

I am 55 years old, will retire in 3 years, speak no foreign language, and do not have a college degree. However, I have tutored English and math for two community colleges, have published short stories and articles, taught a class for my local community education organization on 'Manuscript Marketing' and am an articulate speaker. Also, I'm very computer literate, design websites, and even know how to replace hardware 'internals'.

More importantly, I am motivated to spend my post-retirement life in service to others. Question is, is that enough to qualify for PCV work? Most of the PCVs I've read about are young and college educated, making it seem like persons without college degrees (and older) are given much less of a chance to volunteer ... even if their desire to volunteer is strong. And before volunteering, I'd like to hear from PCVs about whether or not this is true. Please be honest, even brutally honest (grin).

One note about me. I've always been a minimalist, not out of necessity but out of choice. In my early childhood, I grew up in a farmhouse that did not have electricity or running water. Pumped water was used in the home and all showers were cold showers. 'Plumbing' consisted of visiting the 'outhouse' ... icy cold in winter and plagued by yellow-jackets in summer. Point is, I have firsthand experience in adversity. And as a minimalist, it would be far less of a shock to me to live under adverse conditions.

But seriously, is motivation enough ... or should I expect to be denied PCV status due to age, lack of foreign language experience, or lack of a college degree? All answers to this question, positive and negative, would be appreciated.
RPCV ( -
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 12:37 pm:   

Hello James West;

If I were Peace Corps I would lap you up in a NY Minute. But of course Peace Corps has special rules.
I entered Peace Corps at about your age with lesser abilities but with similar early background
and discovered that my age and early background were desired by my host country. I was sent to a village where no one else would stay because I knew what to think about "no running water, little
electricity, outhouses," ["It's the method here."]
I have never been so welcome in a place anywhere. It takes a while to do the application so you're not too early. Good Luck!
James A. West ( -
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 2:48 pm:   

"Special rules?" Not sure what you mean. But to me, it wouldn't matter so much where I was sent as it would "where could I be of most value."

It's odd. Ten years ago, I was a married man and caught up in the same lifestyle other U.S. citizens are ... but only for the sake of the wife and son. I've never surrounded myself with "things." I've since divorced my wife (the 'queen' of consumers, hehe), she's since filed for bankruptcy (consumed too much), and my son is out on his own. Right now, I live in a studio apartment about the size of most people's bedrooms, have a daybed, a TV, a computer, a radio, and selected books. That's about it ... and I love it. And now on the eve of retirement, things are becoming much clearer to me about life's purpose - and being of service to others is at the top of the list.

P.S. I've never been a hobo (grin) but am a big believer in the hobo ethic - that no person owns possessions. Rather, persons are owned "by" their possessions. I remember that Mother Theresa, the nun in India, only had one thing she called a 'possession' - a bucket she used to get water. I suspect I'd be a teensy bit more demanding. I'd probably want to take along a dozen or so books with me (and hope for decent-enough light to read them).

BTW, if I fill out the application, do I have to be "open" as to availability ... or can I specify that I have to wait until my retirement in July, 2008?
RPCV ( -
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 10:16 am:   

Having served in Peace Corps as a method to be of service to ManKind is still my choice. It gave me the grand opportunity to use both my expertise in natural farming and my love for producing clean and whole food, as I healed the section of Planet Earth on my miniscule scale, which was my host
country's request when they happily discovered I knew the method. Peace Corps had tried to get rid of me when they found that out before training. I was supposed to sell harsh fertilizers which killed soil life [the life
of the soil ], to the village I was sent to.

As it turned out, the villagers were mostly barefoot, didn't have a change of clothes, had
no idea what I meant about the use of fertilizer which was not needed anyway as the farmland was very rich all by itself. But they knew how to get me to safety, carrying me in their arms, when I
contracted a first day fatal brain disease Peace
Corps never mentioned - not even to this day.
Amazing that those Fellow Persons are so callous and vicious.

Now I am on the Third Goal of Peace Corps; that of bringing back what I learned from where Peace Corps sent me! Only I find that Peace Corps will not hear it! It keeps running new Volunteers through its conveyor belt of Special Rules.

One for me was to have my shrink write a letter
saying something like I was mentally healthy. You can probably guess where this is going. One can wonder who among the Lack of Leadership in Peace Corps is mentally healthy when their idea is to let Volunteers die in the field [Yours Truly for one. Peace Corps tried, I just didn't die]. I was more mentally healthy than my shrink, too.

Another Special Rule is the health examination... it really is a good idea to have one. Only thing wrong with my health was vaginal yeast which had to be stopped. I went to a former Peace Corps
doctor who gave me some Peace Corps Pills
which did not stop the yeast. So I stopped it!
With a vinegar douche. Doctor said that was not acceptable. Jeeez!

My dental exam was likewise great. I have always
had good teeth. But eight of them went bad
during the six weeks of torturous ICU in
Nairobi Hospital. I had three repaired when
I had to leave the area. Peace Corps told me I needed to get them done at this dentist's office but I did not get disabiity pay so went to a
relative's house to live. I paid for getting the
rest of the bad teeth fixed.

This is not to say that you should not join
Peace Corps. It's to say that you need to
inform yourself before joining and keep it to
yourself. Peace Corps is a political USA agency
which acts in conjunction with Big
Businesses like pill and fertilizer companies.

There is so much to tell that I forgot where
I was going and will skip to the application.

The applicant has the right of choice as to where they want to go, but it can take longer to wait
for that particular slot. If the applicant will
go anyplace...

What does BTW mean?
Admin1 (admin) ( -
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 11:12 am:   

Internet Acronyms

Internet Acronyms

BTW By The Way

Internet Acronyms

To help assist those new to WWW messageboards or USENET newsgroups on just what all those acronyms mean.


AAMOF As A Matter Of Fact

ADN Any Day Now

AFK Away From The Keyboard

AISI As I See It

AMF Adios My Friend

AOBTD Another One Bites The Dust

ATB All The Best

ATK At The Keyboard

AYT Are You There

B4 Before

BBL Be Back Later

BBS Bulletin Board System

BCC Blind Carbon Copy

BFN Bye For Now. (or B4N)

BOC But Of Course

BOL Best Of Luck

BTW By The Way.

CUL See You Later

DFM Don't Flame Me

EOD End Of Discussion

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

FITB Fill In The Blank

FOAF Friend Of A Friend

FWIW For What It's Worth.

FYI For Your Information

GR8 Great

HP Home Page

HTH Hope This Helps

IAE In Any Event

IANAL I Am Not A Lawyer

IMHO In My Humble Opinion

IMNSHO In My Not So Humble Opinion

IMO In My Opinion

IOW In Other Words

ISP Internet Service Provider

IYD In Your Dreams

JAS Just A Second

JMO Just My Opinion

LOL Laughing Out Loud

MHOTY My Hat's Off To You

NG Newsgroup

NIFOC Nude In Front Of Computer

NMI No Message Inside (or NM - no message)

NRN No Reply Necessary

OIC Oh, I See!

OLT One Last Thing -OR- One Last Time

OOTB Out Of The Box (brand new)

OTOH On The Other Hand

PITA Pain In The Ass

PMFJI Pardon Me For Jumping In

RL Real Life

ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing

RSN Real Soon Now

SIT Stay In Touch

SITD Still In The Dark

TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

TIA Thanks In Advance

TIC Tongue In Cheek

TYVM Thank You Very Much


When this story was posted in December 2005, 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
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Top Stories: December 5, 2005 Date: December 5 2005 No: 764 Top Stories: December 5, 2005
Joseph Opala's story of Priscilla in major NY exhibition 23 Nov
Palau President creates Peace Corps Advisory Panel 3 Dec
Cathy Skoula returns from Pakistan relief 1 Dec
Matthew Patrick writes about Wind Power 1 Dec
Bush recognizes Director Vasquez on World AIDS Day 1 Dec
"The Ugly American" helped inspire Peace Corps 29 Nov
Thirty-four Congressmen co-sponsor PC/Military bill 27 Nov
The Nordins push Permaculture 27 Nov
President Bush meets with PCVs in Mongolia 25 Nov
John Smart says Vasquez "less than qualified" 25 Nov
Peter McPherson promotes study abroad 25 Nov
Harry Baltzer honored by peace center 24 Nov
Chris Matthews' has controversial appearance in Toronto 24 Nov
Harry Reid says Bush out to ruin Peace Corps 24 Nov
David L. Dolinger was eyewitness to Gwangju Uprising 23 Nov
Russia imposes more controls on NGO's 23 Nov
Kinky Friedman is a tough Jew 23 Nov
Murphy calls his pension planning 'bittersweet' 23 Nov
Dodd says start bringing troops home soon 22 Nov
Bill Moyers: The Texas Observer at 50 22 Nov
The Best Year of My Life by Paul Theroux 14 Nov

Military Option sparks concerns Date: September 13 2005 No: 731 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. Read the results of our poll among RPCVs. Latest: Congressman John Kline introduces legislation to alter the program to remove the Peace Corps as an option for completing an individual’s military enlistment requirement.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: October 22 2005 No: 738 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

Top Stories: November 19, 2005 Date: November 19 2005 No: 751 Top Stories: November 19, 2005
President Bush meets with PCVs in Panama 7 Nov
PC Trainee Wyatt Ammon dies in accident in Zambia 18 Nov
Congress appropriates $322 Million for Peace Corps 17 Nov
James Walsh on the crisis in Nepal 9 Nov
Pam Musk climbs Mount Kilimanjaro 6 Nov
David Morsilli awed by havoc in Mississippi 6 Nov
Tierney Davis in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia 1 Nov
Julie Harrold says "Don't change the Peace Corps" 31 Oct
Jacqueline Lyons shares her poems about Peace Corps 28 Oct
Peace Corps returns to its roots in Michigan 28 Oct
David Peterson serves in Katrina Response Team #1 25 Oct
Director Vasquez Travels to Tonga and Fiji 24 Oct
Laura Vanderkam says "Peace Corps needs makeover" 24 Oct
Shriver Center and Maryland RPCVs host C. Payne Lucas 21 Oct
Don Mosley to receive Pacem in Terris honor 17 Oct
Mary Cameron Kilgour writes on abuse 16 Oct
George Packer writes about Iraq for the New Yorker 16 Oct
Richard Celeste says Colorado higher education faces peril 16 Oct
Kevin Quigley says Keep Peace Corps, military separate 16 Oct
Christie and Eric Nelson say no to cars 15 Oct
Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland 14 Oct

PC establishes awards for top Volunteers Date: November 9 2005 No: 749 PC establishes awards for top Volunteers
Gaddi H. Vasquez has established the Kennedy Service Awards to honor the hard work and service of two current Peace Corps Volunteers, two returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and two Peace Corps staff members. The award to currently serving volunteers will be based on a demonstration of impact, sustainability, creativity, and catalytic effect. Submit your nominations by December 9.

Robert F. Kennedy - 80th anniversary of his birth Date: November 26 2005 No: 757 Robert F. Kennedy - 80th anniversary of his birth
"Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world which yields most painfully to change."

Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years Date: October 22 2005 No: 745 Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years
Congratulations to the Peace Corps for the highest number of volunteers in 30 years with 7,810 volunteers serving in 71 posts across the globe. Of course, the President's proposal to double the Peace Corps to 15,000 volunteers made in his State of the Union Address in 2002 is now a long forgotten dream. With deficits in federal spending stretching far off into the future, any substantive increase in the number of volunteers will have to wait for new approaches to funding and for a new administration. Choose your candidate and start working for him or her now.

'Celebration of Service' a major success Date: October 10 2005 No: 730 'Celebration of Service' a major success
The Peace Corps Fund's 'Celebration of Service' on September 29 in New York City was a major success raising approximately $100,000 for third goal activities. In the photo are Maureen Orth (Colombia); John Coyne (Ethiopia) Co-founder of the Peace Corps Fund; Caroline Kennedy; Barbara Anne Ferris (Morocco) Co-founder; Former Senator Harris Wofford, member of the Advisory Board. Read the story here.

PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident" Date: October 13 2005 No: 737 PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident"
The District Commissioner for the Kasama District in Zambia issued a statement banning Peace Corps activities for ‘grave’ social misconduct and unruly behavior for an incident that occurred on September 24 involving 13 PCVs. Peace Corps said that some of the information put out about the incident was "inflammatory and false." On October 12, Country Director Davy Morris met with community leaders and apologized for the incident. All PCVs involved have been reprimanded, three are returning home, and a ban in the district has since been lifted.

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 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 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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: Kenoweb

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Internet


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