October 21, 2003 - The Chronicle: Tanzania RPCV Mike Paulhus seeks second term

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tanzania: Peace Corps Tanzania: The Peace Corps in Tanzania: October 21, 2003 - The Chronicle: Tanzania RPCV Mike Paulhus seeks second term

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-110-177.balt.east.verizon.net - on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 10:07 am: Edit Post

Tanzania RPCV Mike Paulhus seeks second term

Tanzania RPCV Mike Paulhus seeks second term

Paulhus seeks second term

Matthew L. Brown - Chronicle Staff Writer

WINDHAM , CONNCECTICUT— People may gripe when inconvenienced, but Democratic First Selectman Mike Paulhus knows what real hardship is like.

Not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about his time in the Peace Corps and how it prepared him for life in public service.

The 37-year-old Windham native came up through Windham’s public school system and graduated from Windham High School in 1984. He was a varsity football and golf player.

He lives in Willimantic with his wife Natalka and their two foster children, aged 6 and 4.

After high school, he attended Blackburn College in Illinois, and, immediately after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988, he joined the Peace Corps.

“The application process took awhile, so I started in ‘89.” With a degree in biology, Paulhus was trained in aqua-culture before being shipped off to Tanzania as a fisheries management volunteer.

He stayed in the east African countryside until 1991 and the start of the first Gulf War, which cut short his stay by nine months.

“It was…it changed my life. It put me on a different path. It was a wonderful experience,” he said.

While in Tanzania, Paulhus learned Swahili, which, he said, he can still “pull back” if he needs it.

A Rotarian, Paulhus also had the opportunity in 1998 to go back to the same Tanzanian village in which he volunteered almost 10 years earlier.

“It was quite an experience. We went to the same place, stayed in the same village with the same family.” The group that went in 1998 was there to install a new water purification system at a hospital.

Paulhus said his Peace Corps time has been the dominant force in his decision-making ever since he saw Africa.

“It’s a growth experience, and I constantly think about it…the underprivileged, the undeserved. I am rich, and sometimes, unless you’ve gone there, unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to realize. It puts it all in perspective, and it doesn’t take more than a day or two.”

“I’ve been in public service ever since,” he said.

During his first years after the Peace Corps, Paulhus had his sites set on working in international development with an organization like UNICEF or Save the Children.

Upon his return to the U.S., he earned a Masters degree in International Affairs from Ohio University on a scholarship for Peace Corps volunteers.

But his resume didn’t include any administrative experience, which prompted him to earn another Masters degree, this time in public administration from the University of Connecticut.

At about the time he received that degree, a position opened up at Windham town hall for an executive administrator. “That was nine years ago,” he said, “and I haven’t left.”

He served as executive administrator under former first selectmen Walter Pawelkiewicz and John Lescoe before being elected to the town’s top post in 2001.

“The Peace Corps is always there, and I can always go back at the end of my career,” he said. “Now, I’m in a different mode, but still one of a public servant, a politician. I see it as more helpful here in my home community.”

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: The Chronicle

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tanzania; Politics



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.