May 23, 2003 - Amarillo Globe News: Brandon and Penny Vick on their way to Suriname

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Suriname: Peace Corps Suriname: The Peace Corps in Suriname: May 23, 2003 - Amarillo Globe News: Brandon and Penny Vick on their way to Suriname

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 10:15 am: Edit Post

Brandon and Penny Vick on their way to Suriname

Read and comment on this story from the Amarillo Globe News on Brandon and Penny Vick who are on their way to Suriname with the Peace Corps at:

Husband, wife make a new commitment*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Husband, wife make a new commitment


Brandon and Penny Vick have much to do before traveling thousands of miles to live in a hut in a small country in South America for two years.

Like moving the possessions of their efficiency apartment to the family farm near Wayside. Like buying all the requisite objects for their trip: camping gear, film, bug repellent, mosquito nets. Like continuing to convince their families that joining the Peace Corps is a good thing.

"At first they thought we were crazy," Penny Vick, 26, said.

"They've gotten more and more supportive," Brandon Vick, 25, said.

The Vicks will join more than 6,678 Peace Corps volunteers who are developing self-sustaining projects in education, business, health, the environment and agriculture in 70 nations. The couple will live in a village outside Suriname's capital of Paramaribo helping develop and implement preschool, after-school and adult-education programs.

But when they began the application process, they had no idea where they would end up. All they knew is that they wanted an adventure before settling down and having children.

"They (friends and family) may think we're delaying making any real decisions in life," said Brandon Vick, who had worked at Compaq before going into teaching.

Two years ago, the couple started researching the Peace Corps, something Penny Vick always wanted to pursue. They wrote some essays about why they wanted to join the Peace Corps, gave some personal information, turned in some recommendation letters and medical information, and met with a recruiter in Dallas.

The recruiter explained what this journey would mean: no electricity or amenities, initial language barriers, and constant togetherness.

"They wanted to make sure we weren't screaming at each other," Brandon Vick said.

They learned this week they would be going to Suriname, a place neither of them had heard of before. But later they learned the country's official language was Dutch, a language they were familiar with, having spent a year in the Netherlands.

On May 30, they will fly to Miami for Peace Corps basic training, then off to Suriname, where they will spend three months with a village family, immersed in the culture, before they strike out on their own.

They will act as liaisons between villagers and other international organizations. They will develop programs and build buildings, all with the input of the villagers.

Neither of them can wait. They have already set up a Web site for friends and family to write letters and check on them.

"There's a lot to learn from different cultures," Penny Vick said.

"They notice things that you never noticed about yourself," Brandon Vick said.

Both want to take their experience and use it in their future fields. Brandon Vick wants to go into international development and business. Penny Vick will join her husband at graduate school when they get back, studying women's studies.

One thing they plan to learn is how to slow down.

"You have lots of downtime to write and read," Penny Vick said. "You've got to try not to rush."

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