July 5, 2003 - The Grand Island Independent: Krissy Rerucha on her way to Gambia in the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Gambia: Peace Corps The Gambia : The Peace Corps in the Gambia: July 5, 2003 - The Grand Island Independent: Krissy Rerucha on her way to Gambia in the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 11:23 am: Edit Post

Krissy Rerucha on her way to Gambia in the Peace Corps

Krissy Rerucha on her way to Gambia in the Peace Corps

Local Peace Corps volunteer on her way to Gambia

Last modified at 12:13 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, 2003

By Lincoln Arneal

Krissy Rerucha has run the whole gambit of emotions this week. She has been excited, sappy, sad, nervous, happy and scared.

However, Rerucha has a good reason for her wide range of emotions -- she leaves for Gambia today. She will live in the small African country of The Gambia with the Peace Corps for 27 months.

Gambia is located on the northwest coast of Africa surrounded by Senegal, and is slightly larger than Connecticut.

"I've always wanted to go," she said. "I'm always utopic. The plan has been to get my degree, go into the Peace Corps, and become a doctor."

The roots of Rerucha's desire comes from a television ad she saw when she was little. The commercial showed a man digging in the dirt with the slogan, "You, too, can make a difference." The message stuck for Rerucha, now she is off to try to make a difference.

With her degree in biology completed after graduating in May from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, Rerucha is taking the next step in her career plans.

Shayne LaBudda, adult education coordinator at Clarke College, is the Peace Corps recruiter and volunteer for the corps who talked to Rerucha about the program.

He helped her through the application process last November. LaBudda continued to talk with Rerucha through the school year about what to expect.

"I think she has got her head on well, is energetic, and will get a lot out of it," he said. "It will be a challenge her emotionally and her values and beliefs."

LaBudda also served in Africa as a part of the Peace Corps, in Liberia, has helped Rerucha prepare over the last month.

Rerucha found out her assignment the first part of June. While getting the news was a relief, it also came with some nerves.

"I finally knew where I am at, but I only have a month left," she said.

As soon as she arrives in Gambia, Rerucha will have to go through an eight-week training session.

The official language of Gambia is English, but Rerucha will have to learn two native languages, Mandinka and Wolof, during training. The coordinators will assess each of the 30 Americans, during the training and assign them to a field they will serve for the remainder of their time.

Rerucha said she could work in health organization, basic education, AIDS education or nutrition. During her stay she will live in a family compound and receive about $200 a month, similar to what an elementary teacher would make in Gambia.

In additional to mentally preparing herself, Rerucha had to write an aspiration statement, which will serve as an introduction letter, and buy new clothes. She said that she has to have clothes that cover her knees and buy button-down shirts.

When she returns in just over two years, Rerucha will go right back to her career plan, but with a slight twist.

"Until last semester I thought I was going to be a doctor," she said. "Now want to do cancer research."

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Story Source: The Grand Island Independent

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



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