August 28, 2003 - Lebanon Daily Record: Justin and Steffanie Haring heading to Nicaragua in Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nicaragua: Peace Corps Nicaragua: The Peace Corps in Nicaragua: August 28, 2003 - Lebanon Daily Record: Justin and Steffanie Haring heading to Nicaragua in Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:53 am: Edit Post

Justin and Steffanie Haring heading to Nicaragua in Peace Corps

Justin and Steffanie Haring heading to Nicaragua in Peace Corps

Couple will keep in touch with class from Peace Corps assignment in Nicaragua

By Eric Adams

Lebanon, Missouri - No electricity, no running water, no indoor toilets. It may sound like a trip back in time to some, but Justin and Steffanie Haring of Competition are about to make it their everyday life.

"We decided to join the Peace Corps because we've always wanted to help people," Justin Haring said. "We figured we could be part of the solution rather than part of the problem."

The Harings shared their plans to join the Peace Corps with Barbara Prock's third-grade class Wednesday at Maplecrest Elementary School. The students found it hard to imagine life without today's luxuries, but they are going to hear firsthand as pen pals with the Harings from Nicaragua.

"I think cold showers and no TV would be the hardest thing for me," said 8-year-old Lauren Dampier. "I don't think they'll be couch potatoes."

Justin and Steffanie are leaving Saturday for Nicaragua for three months of training. While in Managua, Nicaragua, they will get Peace Corps orientation, language training and help get adjusted to the different culture.

"We'll get to stay with a host family until we feel comfortable with the culture," Steffanie Haring said. "After that we'll probably live in a cinder-block house with a dirt floor, thatched roof and a hammock for a bed."

After orientation, the Harings will be sent to Esteli, a small village in northwestern Nicaragua. They will help families plant gardens and raise small animals for basic nutritional needs.

"We will be helping people grow the things they need to survive," Justin Haring said. "We'll also be working to develop soil conservation because of the devastation hurricanes have had on the land."

The Harings said the average person in Nicaragua earns $450 per year. Nicaragua recently was damaged by hurricanes, which destroyed most of the farms. The staple food source is beans and rice with every meal.

Prock is Steffanie's aunt and hopes to keep in touch via letters and e-mail. Prock's students will be studying different animals and climates associated with Nicaragua.

"I'm excited to see the pictures of giant beetles and monkeys," Andrew Mitchell, 8, said.

Steffanie said mail can take up to a month to get from Nicaragua to Missouri. She said people shouldn't send anything of value in packages because it could be stolen.

"I wouldn't send anything like batteries or money, but you might want to sneak in some cookies," Steffanie Haring said.

In case they're able to befriend a monkey, the Harings are taking a feline flea collar. The Harings are given a small stipend equivalent to the poverty level in Nicaragua, but are allowed to have a pet, horse or motor scooter.

"We are supposed to be there to relate to the people in our village," Steffanie Haring said. "We've been told that most Peace Corps fatalities happen from auto accidents, so that's why we'll be taking the bus and not getting a car."

The Harings recently graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Justin Haring earned philosophy and classical language degrees while Steffanie earned an international business degree with a Spanish-language emphasis. They both grew up on cattle farms.

Steffanie said besides missing family, one of the things she is going to miss is not seeing snow for three years. The Harrings plan to make a trip back home next May.

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Story Source: Lebanon Daily Record

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Recruitment; COS - Nicaragua; World Wise Schools



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