May 9, 2003 - The Pratt Tribune: Lucas Alberg heads for Bolivia in Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : The Peace Corps in Bolivia: May 9, 2003 - The Pratt Tribune: Lucas Alberg heads for Bolivia in Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 5:36 pm: Edit Post

Lucas Alberg heads for Bolivia in Peace Corps

Lucas Alberg heads for Bolivia in Peace Corps

Alberg accepts Peace Corps mission

By Gale Rose: of the Tribune Staff

Former Pratt resident Lucas Alberg has a passion for life, travel and meeting and working with people. On Saturday, May 10, Alberg will combine all these interests and begin the adventure of a lifetime. He is going to spend two years in Bolivia in South America working for the Peace Corps.

Alberg will get to meet lots of new people, he won't know anybody where he's going.

"I think it's great. I'm looking forward to it," Alberg said.

Alberg will travel to Miami, Fla., for four days of orientation then to Cochabamba, Bolivia, for three months of training, which will focus on health education and learning Spanish. He speaks some Spanish now but will have to improve his skills.

"By the end of the training, I should have a grasp of the language," Alberg said. "I want to be fluent in Spanish."

Cochabamba is in the west central part of Bolivia at the foothills of the Andes mountains about 200 miles southeast of the capital, La Paz.

Exactly what Alberg will be doing will be decided during his three months of training but it will be in the health education area. The directors of the program match up personalities with jobs. He could be doing any of a variety of things from "giving community seminars for personal hygiene to planting gardens for school kids," Alberg said.

Besides helping the population with health issues, Alberg is anxious to meet the people and get to know them. He hopes to come home having learned more than he taught.

"If you talk to someone long enough, you'll hear some amazing stories," Alberg said.

He would like to work in a school with children. Previously, he lived in Portland, Ore., and worked with preschool children.

He also doesn't know where he will be going when he leaves Cochabamba. It could be an urban area working with other members of the corps or on his own in a small rural village.

"I'm going to learn a lot about the culture and the language. I'm going to have to adapt," Alberg said.

Wherever he goes, he will travel by bus and the travel will be rough. There are only a few paved roads in the country, Alberg said.

Communication will depend on where he is located. For the first three months of training in Cochabamba, he will have Internet access. Depending on where he goes after that, his only form of communication may be by letters, Alberg said.

Traveling away from home for two years presents some interesting challenges. Luggage is limited. The airlines allow one carry-on and two pieces of checked luggage, Alberg said.

Among his items will be clothes, a guitar and several books about the Spanish Civil War, Bolivia, some light humor by David Sadaris and Cervantes' "Don Quixote."

Alberg has very few concerns about traveling to Bolivia. He flew two weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and went from Paris to Toronto during the SARS crisis. His parents are a little worried but supportive, Alberg said.

A Peace Corps position is designed much like a job. Alberg will have work hours, vacation time and sick leave.

Bolivia is about one and a half times the size of Texas and has a diverse geography with 20,000 foot peaks in the Andes mountains, Amazon jungle regions and desert areas. He hopes to use his vacation time to explore the country.

"I'm a big outdoor man. I love hiking. I hope to hike the Andes," Alberg said.

He figures he will have to use some of his sick leave during his two-year stay. There are a lot of parasites and bacteria he has never encountered.

"I will get sick, that's a reality," Alberg said.

Alberg is the son of Scott and Marilyn Alberg. He has an older brother Seth who lives in Tulsa, Okla., and was recently married. He has a younger sister, Lindsay, who is in her first year at KU.

Alberg graduated from Pratt High School in 1997. He attended the University of Kansas and graduated in 2001 with a degree in journalism and psychology.

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Story Source: The Pratt Tribune

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



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