April 13, 2003 - Trafford: A Peace Corps Profile of a Volunteer in Nicaragua and Chile

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A Peace Corps Profile of a Volunteer in Nicaragua and Chile

A Peace Corps Profile of a Volunteer in Nicaragua and Chile

A Peace Corps Profile

by Kirk A. Hackenberg

156 pages; perfect bound; catalogue #02-0489; ISBN 1-55369-676-X; US$14.25 (Can$21.95)

Ever wonder what the Peace Corps is all about, how to get involved? This book provides a very descriptive and detailed experience of not one, but two tours of service with the organization!

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about the book about the author sample excerpts or Table of Contents catalogue info

About the Book

This book is a detailed account of one man's experiences serving, not one, but two tours in the Peace Corps as a volunteer. He takes you from the beginning of what prompted him to join the Peace Corps and leaves nothing out of the next four years of his service. Being a volunteer in a foreign country, living at the level of those being served, provides a lifetime of experiences wrapped up in a short amount of time. Each day brought new challenges, some humorous, some rather horrific, but life lessons as never predictable. From the jungles of Nicaragua, through the civil war there, to working on the coast of Chile, the author takes you on a journey that will leave you amazed at what one person can do.

About the Author

From a very young age the author, Kirk Hackenberg, felt a desire to help those less fortunate. He especially felt a need to help underprivileged children as they are often overlooked in the larger scheme of things. After graduating from college, and feeling the need to make a difference in the world, but having no direction, he found what he was looking for in the Peace Corps. In this fact-filled book he takes you from the sometimes-humorous beginning of learning a foreign language, the heartbreak of realizing he couldn't fix everything, to the triumph of knowing he did make a difference in so many lives. His tender stories of working with the children in these poverty-stricken countries will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings. A devoted husband, and father of two sons, Kirk has had many experiences and lived in many places, but the Peace Corps years was where he "grew up".

Sample Excerpts or Table of Contents

Chapter 3 "Quality Family Time"

...... I was happy to see "Little House on the Prairie" with Michael Landon, in Spanish. The set was black and white but was the main entertainment for this family.

I thought I would take a run at speaking something in Spanish so I put together a couple of words I did know, which were: "casa", meaning house and "chico" meaning little. So I pointed at the TV and said, "casa chico, casa chico". The mother and father got this worried look on their faces, and the next thing I know, there's a dialog going on between them for which I'm at a total loss. In a mad dash the mother runs off and returns with a roll of toilet paper and hands it to me. It didn't take a rocket scientist to piece that one together.

Chapter 7 "Lacking the Social Graces"

...... I was sitting in my room when I heard a commotion across the street and looked out to see what was going on. To my anger I saw her and one of the Nicaraguan engineers that I work with beating her.

I ran across the street and grabbed him by the neck. With my fist raised to give him a pop, I realized there was absolutely no resistance on his part. I was so surprised by this that I didn't hit him. I think he saw the amount of anger in my face and knew I was capable of anything at that moment. His next response was to tell me that they hit the women in his country and I shouldn't interfere.

Chapter 12 "A Social Revolution"

...... After weeks of this increasing intensity, a determining point in my staying in Nicaragua arrived. The Sandinistas asked me if I had a problem with them blowing up the Pan American Highway just outside of town where the main bridge was. The Sandinistas were true to their word and did not want to interfere with my efforts so they just told me what their plan was.

Chapter 13 "Crossing the Boarder"

...... I told her I would walk her and her brother back home. It was then that it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had no idea where that was. We walked, with her leading the way, and when we arrived, I was not prepared for what I saw. Her house was a cardboard box along with many others in an alley of a distant street. Inside were a few tattered clothes and a rag bed. She and her brother went in with their bags of food in hand.

I walked for hours, crying, not knowing what to do or how to help. I would never forget this moment in my life and wondered how much more I would have to see and feel before this was over.

Chapter 17 "Here, There and Everywhere"

My next room was no better and while it had a window, I was renting from the mother of Mrs. Baates from the movie of "Psycho". The first week there I found myself running into the hallway at about two in the morning in my underwear because there was screaming and hollering as if someone was being killed. There in the hallway was the old lady in her nightgown with a kitchen knife in her hand.

I ran up to her totally ready for anything but was amazed that she was asleep.

Chapter 21 "A Life Complete"

...... I participated in the launches of Galileo to Jupiter, and the Magellan to Venus. I helped with COLBE, which gave us our first complete images of our own universe. I stood at the space center and saw the day and night launches of the Space Shuttle up close.

I have gone to the top of the Vertical Assembly Building and seen the space shuttle moved to its pad. I went on to help procure the world's largest robotic machines to fabricate a new space shuttle rocket engine but none of this was as interesting to me as my Peace Corps years.

Catalogue Information

CIP: National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Hackenberg, Kirk A., 1952-

A Peace Corps profile / Kirk A. Hackenberg.

ISBN 1-55369-676-X

1. Hackenberg, Kirk A., 1952-. 2. Peace Corps (U.S.)--Biography.

I. Title.

HC60.5.H32 2002 361.6 C2002-902893-0

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Story Source: Trafford

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Chile; COS - Nicaragua; Writers



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