September 27, 2001 - Diving Daze: Autobiography 3: Peace Corps Kenya

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kenya: The Peace Corps in Kenya: September 27, 2001 - Diving Daze: Autobiography 3: Peace Corps Kenya

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 9:31 am: Edit Post

Autobiography 3: Peace Corps Kenya

Autobiography 3: Peace Corps Kenya

Autobiography 3: Peace Corps

After graduating college, I drifted for a couple months, first to Texas, then New Orleans, then Boston. I hadn’t heard from the Peace Corps yet. I had requested to go to West Africa, a lifelong dream, Africa. I also wanted to go to a French speaking country to become more fluent. I remember the call I got. “How about Sri Lanka?” Well, let’s see, not Africa, not French speaking. Nice work, bureaucrats. “OK, well then, how about Haiti?” French speaking, but not Africa. Try again. “Ah, OK, Liberia?” Good! West Africa, but not French speaking. “Well, look, either wait six months, or go to Kenya.” Hmm. Kenya. Not French speaking…but somehow it sounds right. So, in October, 1986, I left the US for Kenya. Landed in a tiny town, after three months training, called Witu. 80% Moslem, 20% Christian. Slept in mosquito infested mud and cement huts. Lived a short time in a very nice house with another teacher. I was headmaster, deputy headmaster, games master, too (you know, coach)! I caned students to save face, had permanent diahrrea and a couple of cases of malaria. Spent the last seven months in Kiatineni, a town located closer to Nairobi and with endemic malaria. I write about malaria because of...well, read on. The real bad spot was an allergy to Fanisdar, a sulpha-based anti-malarial that gave me a two-week body rash. Fans of this type of allergy know that it’s potentially fatal (website link not for the squeamish). What I learned from the Peace Corps is one important thing: CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING. Culture plays a huge part in our lives and in our identity and most of us live in tiny cocoons throughout most of our lives. The Peace Corps showed me the cocoon I was living in, and helped me to break out of it.
Posted by larry at March 28, 2003 10:17 AM

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Story Source: Diving Daze

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



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