June 5, 2003 - The Pine City Pioneer: Annie Mach heading to Malawi to work in community health

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malawi: Peace Corps Malawi : The Peace Corps in Malawi: June 5, 2003 - The Pine City Pioneer: Annie Mach heading to Malawi to work in community health

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 10:27 am: Edit Post

Annie Mach heading to Malawi to work in community health

Read and comment on this story from The Pine City Pioneer about Annie Mach heading to Malawi to work in the Peace Corps in community health at:

Local woman joins the Peace Corps Leaving home isnít so hard when youíve been well prepared*

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Local woman joins the Peace Corps Leaving home isnít so hard when youíve been well prepared

by Stefanie Brown Freelance writer

Annie is "a pet name for Anne," and the name, Anne, means "gracious," a perfect word to describe Annie Mach.

A 1998 graduate of Pine City High School, Annie is leaving this village where she grew up and heading to another far away in Malawi, Africa.

The village of Pine City has given her firm roots, a good education, a springboard for her to succeed.

Annie has joined the Peace Corps, and she is ready to plant herself in a totally new community.

"I have always wanted to do this.

I went to India my senior year in college and I loved it," she said.

Annie graduated from St.

Olaf College last May with a degree in biology and in English.

She has been living in St.

Paul with her aunt and uncle and working at Nordstromís in the Mall of America.

"I knew I would be leaving for the Peace Corps at the time.

I just didnít know when for sure so I didnít want to get myself tied into anything.

I chose to work and wait to leave," said Annie.

Caption: Annie Mach is leaving Pine City where she grew up and heading to another village far away in Malawi, Africa.

When asked what she had to do to join the Peace Corps, she answered easily, "All I had to do was go on the website and apply, but the acceptance process was pretty extensive.

After the application, you need to write essays, get letters of recommendation and then interview.

When youíre through with interviewing, you need to be nominated, get a medical clearance and a dental clearance.

"Your skills then get assessed.

They wanted to know what kind of classes I took in college, and they really look into your prior volunteering background.

Itís a very long process." Annie is the daughter of Byron and Nancy Mach of Pine City.

"They support me totally, but they still donít want to really talk about it," Annie said.

"I will miss my family and friends, especially when I get a letter or something, but other than them, I donít have a boyfriend or pets or any thing that I am attached to.

I am able and free to do this." While Annie receives letters about life back in Minnesota, she will be making a life of memories in Africa.

"I havenít found out exactly what I will be doing yet, but they have told me that I will be working in community health, which most likely means I will be working with AIDS patients.

The village I will be in is small and rural.

I have been told that I can expect to live without electricity and running water." While on their two-year assignment, Peace Corps members are discouraged from living together.

"I have been told that I will probably be the only Peace Corps volunteer in the village.

I am expected to become friends with missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers from other villages and most of all with the people of the community.

"I have been told to avoid speaking about political issues while socializing with the people there.

Although it is said that the people in the area I am going to are very friendly and accepting," Annie said.

Traveling to other villages to make friends will be a challenge.

"We cannot drive there.

The Peace Corps provides a bicycle.

There are no traffic rules, and the roads are not developed in many places so it is very dangerous to drive," she said.

If Annie is placed in a community with no running water, she will have to walk each morning to a well and retrieve the water for the day.

"I am not to drink the water at all.

It must be purified by boiling it or using purifying tablets," she said.

When asked what type of clothing she will be able to wear in Africa, Annie said, "I will only be taking four outfits with me.

I have to dress very conservatively, with long pants and long skirts.

When those clothes wear out from handwashing them, I will have to purchase the clothes that are available in the village.

I will probably end up wearing what they wear." While Annie overcomes the language barriers within the next two years, dresses herself in the threads of the culture, bicycles nearly everywhere she wishes to go and more than likely lives without electricity, she simply states a big worry, "I am going to have to learn how to cook on my own.

I havenít ever really cooked so this will be interesting." As she laughed at her own comment she said, "I hope that I will be able to cook so I can entertain for others, since there will be no other real entertainment except reading or writing." When she returns from her excursion in Africa, Annie said, reading may play a big role in her life.

"Right now I think I would like to go back to school when I return and get a masterís degree in library science and become a librarian.

I donít know for sure though.

Who knows? I might want to stay in Africa." When asked what she really wants to get out of the experience Annie says, "I hope that I come back in two years with a better understanding of the world and of cultures.

I hope I learn more about myself and what I can and just cannot do.

"It will be difficult to wake up to a large centipede crawling across the bed and knowing I am the one who will have to get rid of it.

No one else will be around," she said.

Annie may feel alone in an African village, but she will not be alone in her crusade to bring an open ear and kind hands to people in need.

This village of Pine City has prepared Annie well, with tools representing the lessons learned and the people who have made Annie what she is today, a gracious young lady.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malawi; AIDS/HIV



By bill brown ( on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 10:09 am: Edit Post

Would be good to have a one year follow up...

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