November 27, 2003 - Clemmons Courier: Sri Lanka RPCV Linda Eiler named president of Forsyth County Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sri Lanka: Peace Corps Sri Lanka: The Peace Corps in Sri Lanka: November 27, 2003 - Clemmons Courier: Sri Lanka RPCV Linda Eiler named president of Forsyth County Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 9:06 am: Edit Post

Sri Lanka RPCV Linda Eiler named president of Forsyth County Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Sri Lanka RPCV Linda Eiler named president of Forsyth County Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Ex-Peace Corp volunteers organize

Former Peace Corps volunteers from Clemmons

By Dwight Sparks - They got together to swap old Peace Corps stories.

Jana Carroll told about forming a cow dung and clay paste she used to mop her floor. She lived in a barn loft over water buffalo and goats in Nepal from 1993-95.

"When you go to a Peace Corps party, everybody tries to one-up each other," she said.

Former Peace Corps volunteers from Clemmons formed a local society Saturday to promote the agency that did so much to shape their lives. Their countries formed a geographical tour of the globe - Turkey, Liberia, Botswanna, Peru, Columbia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Zaire.

Linda Eiler was named president of the group, which will call themselves the Forsyth County Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

She went to Sri Lanka from 1990-92 and lived with Buddhists.

"It certainly made a major difference in my life," she said. "I felt so honored to be a Peace Corps volunteer. Not everyone is selected. But I was an ambassador for my country, and I may be the only American those people would ever meet. I always felt it was an honor and privilege to be in that place and have an impact on those people. I helped in small ways."

She was 40 when she went, and she said Peace Corps volunteers come in all ages. "You’re never too old. Retirees are going into the Peace Corps," she said.

They said the experience living in poverty changed their outlook on life.

"It changes your life in so many ways. I had never lived in a poverty situation, but people were very happy. Family is so important. Family is the nucleus, and it gave me a richer appreciation of my family. When you live in a village, the whole village is a family," Mrs. Eiler said.

Mrs. Carroll agreed. "They don’t know they’re poor. They have no electricity. No refrigerator. And everyone is very nice. Life was simpler. But life and death experiences are in your face there, more than in our culture."

Mrs. Eiler recently moved to Clemmons from Wilmington. She had been a Colorado Springs real estate agent before going into the Peace Corps.

Mrs. Carroll grew up in Birmingham Ala., and has lived in Germany and Africa, seeing the stark differences of wealth and poverty so close together as she pursued an exporting career.

"The Peace Corps gave me good experience for that. I was wanting to go to eastern Europe and teach business, but I found myself in Nepal, which is where I felt I was meant to be. I lived in a barn over some water buffalo and goats. I had to carry my water inside and up a ladder."

She experienced the rigidity of the caste system and saw how impressionable the people were. "People are so poor and they will believe anything you tell them," she said. Without refrigeration, people killed animals and ate them that day.

Mrs. Eiler said women marveled at her hair braids.

"They thought white women couldn’t braid their hair. They thought we were all pampered. They learned American men and women are people, human beings, just like them in many ways."

Former Peace Corps volunteers wanting to join the group may contact Carroll at 778-1752.

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Story Source: Clemmons Courier

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sri Lanka; Local Groups



By George R. Hendrey ( - on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 2:16 pm: Edit Post

RPCVs: You CAN form a Small Group Direct Action for Tsunami Relief (so little from us, so much to others)

A critical need for Tsunami relief is provision of shelter. This will be addressed by tents and other temporary units, but what about long-term recovery and reconstuction? Here is a suggestion the simplicity and utility of which RPCVs are sure to appreciate.

A group at Brookhaven National Laboratory where I maintain an office is purchasing a Compressed Earth Block machine that will be sent from the manufacturer to a NGO in Sri Lanka. We contacted a friend in Sri Lanka, he arranged for a local NGO to receive the machine. Once the machine is available, with very little organization or with some community plan, building materials can be put into the construction of houses, schools, shops, hosptials.

These are manually operated machines, require only local earth mixed with a small amount of cement. The material is pressed into inter-locking blocks that have very high compressive strength. A small community can put together the bricks to build sturdy, permanent structures. Working with an NGO and local authorities, this is one way for a community to begin the long-term recovery of their village. The cost for the machine is under US$ 2000 including shipping and an easy funding target requiring just a little time and willingness to solicit your friends and colleagues. You may read more about this by Googling EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE FOR SUSTAINABLE HABITAT or and the manufacturers web site: or another with pictures of structures at .
You can take it from here, and make a difference for many people. Below is an article about the use of the machine.

George R. Hendrey (Peace Corps Morocco II)
Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, City University of New York

Following the massive earthquake which devastated huge areas of Gujarat in January 2001, the international charity organisation Catholic Relief Services (CRS) committed itself to assisting several rehabilitation programmes. Their latest commitment is the construction of 6,000 houses of various types - each of about 28m2 size - before June 2003.
The house design, which is earthquake resistant and has design approval from the Gujarat State Government, incorporates the use of Auroville-developed ferrocement roofing plus Auram hollow interlocking compressed stabilised earth blocks (CSEBs) for walls. The latter are being manufactured using Auroville's highly acclaimed Auram 3000 press, 75 Nos. of which have been supplied, with some operating on a continuous double-time-shift basis in the area. The average wet compressive strength achieved with the local soil stabilized with 8-9% cement using these presses is around 50 kg/cm2 (after 24 hours immersion).

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