October 13, 2003 - Charleston Daily Mail: RPCV Jonathan Mark Teed says his experiences in Cape Verde have taught him patience

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cape Verde: Peace Corps Cape Verde : The Peace Corps in Cape Verde: October 13, 2003 - Charleston Daily Mail: RPCV Jonathan Mark Teed says his experiences in Cape Verde have taught him patience

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RPCV Jonathan Mark Teed says his experiences in Cape Verde have taught him patience

RPCV Jonathan Mark Teed says his experiences in Cape Verde have taught him patience

Experience tought Peace Corps member patience, Charleston native says he wishes for end to racism

Oct 13, 2003 - Charleston Daily Mail

Author(s): Charlotte Ferrell Smith

Jonathan Mark Teed has acquired a personal understanding of prejudice.

"In America, there may be a racial problem," the 24-year-old Teed said. "Here, living in a country where almost everyone is black, you realize that everyone is the same and that people make mistakes."

The Charleston native, who is white, is living in Assomada, Santiago Island, Cape Verde, West Africa. It is the largest of nine inhabited islands.

Teed will be there until September 2005 as a Peace Corps volunteer. Although he finds residents kind, he believes he is looked at differently because he is white. He wishes people would not be judged by skin color.

He said his experiences have taught him patience and made him more aware of his surroundings.

He works at CIAJ-A Youth Organization where young people receive counseling and computer training. His job is teaching computer programs along with a teacher from the area.

He also helps with a boys home in Picos, a smaller nearby town. He promotes sports and guides field trips for kids who otherwise rarely leave their living quarters.

Peace Corps recently launched its newest national recruiting campaign to re-acquaint Americans with the organization and the work of volunteers. The theme is "Life is calling. How far will you go?"

The campaign underscores President Bush's call to service and his goal to expand and diversify the Peace Corps. This week, there are a few local information sessions scheduled - including one Tuesday in Charleston - to draw interest to the program.

Teed said joining the Peace Corps is one of the best decisions he has made in his life and it will open many doors. For example, his experiences could help land a future government position or a job in the computer field.

Teed attended Salem International University where he majored in criminal justice and minored in European studies. As part of his education, he participated in a "study abroad" program and lived in Berlin. During that time, he traveled to 22 countries.

He enjoys living overseas and experiencing other cultures. As a Peace Corps volunteer, his living expenses are paid.

He describes Cape Verde as a "pretty safe country in general," but he is more cautious since his wallet was stolen on a trip to market.

He and two other volunteers share an apartment with electricity, telephone and water.

He said he would volunteer all over again and suggests Peace Corps for young people finishing college. Student loans may be deferred while volunteering, he pointed out.

"It is a great experience and you are helping people in need," he said.

He is one of four Charleston area residents and 30 West Virginians now serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers. More than 500 West Virginians have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Benefits of a two-year Peace Corps assignment include medical and dental care, training, a monthly stipend, 24 vacation days a year, student loan deferral or forgiveness, and a variety of experiences.

Upon completion of service, volunteers receive $6,000, graduate school fellowship opportunities, and non-competitive eligibility status for most government jobs.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/ AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Volunteers must be at least 18 and make a two-year commitment.

Currently, there are about 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 70 countries.

A Peace Corps information session is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the John V. Ray Room of the Kanawha County Public Library at 123 Capitol St.

An additional information session will be held 6 p.m. Thursday in Memorial Student Union Room 2W37 at Marshall University. Also, a Peace Corps table at MU's Career Connection will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Information also is available by calling (800) 824-8580 or visiting the Web site www.peacecorps.gov.

Writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith can be reached at 348-1246 or by e- mail at charlotte@dailymail.com.

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Story Source: Charleston Daily Mail

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



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