April 18, 2003 - Personal Web Site: 1,000+ Days in Poland in the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Poland: Peace Corps Poland : The Peace Corps in Poland: April 18, 2003 - Personal Web Site: 1,000+ Days in Poland in the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 6:23 pm: Edit Post

1,000+ Days in Poland in the Peace Corps

1,000+ Days in Poland in the Peace Corps

1,000+ Days in Poland

From September 1996 to July 1999 I lived in Lipnica Wielka, a small, cozy village in the mountains of southern Poland. Stretched along one road leading to Babia Gora (Lady's Mountain), Lipnica is the epitome of "rural" in many ways. Chickens scurrying at one's feet on the way to the post office; kids tugging on a line connected to a 1,000 pound cow, "leading" the cow home; an elderly couple using a tractor to drive to the village health clinic--all common sites. Yet "rural" doesn't mean "backward" of course--in this small village I met some of the most amazing, thoughtful people I've ever been privileged to know.

For three years I taught English at the new high school in Lipnica. Without a doubt, this was the formative experience of my life. As most PC Volunteers say, I must admit that I probably took more from this experience than I gave. What did I give? That's difficult to say. I'd like to think that I inspired a few kids and made them realize that their future is in their hands alone--all that teacherly stuff. In brief, I hope I made (get your tissue out) a difference.

Now, what did I get? That's a much easier question.

I . . .

* learned that if you treat people with respect, they respond--especially if they're your students and they're not used to teachers treating them as anything other than an inferior. (A small commentary on the prevailing attitude of Polish teachers.)

* saw the Black Madonna of Czestachowa

* discovered once again that, more often than not, the students in a school are much more interesting and fun than one's fellow teachers. (Another small commentary on the prevailing attitude of Polish teachers.)

* learned a little Polish. Tak trudno . . .

* made some fantastic friends, including a young man who was born in the wrong place. Spain, with a guitar in hand, is where he belongs . . .

* got to see the Pope

* learned how to drink like an Orawian. Na zdrowie.

* discovered that "home" is in the head.

For now, that's all I'm going to put on this page. I might add to it in the future, but nothing more for now. It's strange--a thousand and some days in Poland, and I squeeze out less than a thousand words about the experience. I hope that says more about the ineffability of the adventure I had in Poland than about my writing ability.

An index of links related to my Peace Corps experience:

Entropy, a 'zine I sent to friends and family

Maps of the Area

Teaching in Lipnica Wielka

Those I Met

Relics from 1,000+ Days in Poland

Seeing the Pope

The Black Madonna of Czestachowa's Visit Anyone interested can visit the Lipnica Wielka web page, but it's in Polish, so I don't know how much that'll help you. Giving credit where it is due, though, that is where I nabbed some of the above images. Additionally, there's the Babia Gora National Park page, available in English and the original Polish.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

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



By Roy Murphy ( on Monday, July 30, 2007 - 12:54 pm: Edit Post

Garry...came upon your old site here; I see that I did not make the list of acquaintances...albeit Kinga's dog did! And, by the way, I was your closest PC neighbor!
So, how is your international marriage?

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