February 1, 2004 - Indianapolis Star: Brother and Sister Jill and Brad Rateike serve in Paraguay and Uzbekistan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: February 1, 2004 - Indianapolis Star: Brother and Sister Jill and Brad Rateike serve in Paraguay and Uzbekistan

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Brother and Sister Jill and Brad Rateike serve in Paraguay and Uzbekistan

Brother and Sister Jill and Brad Rateike serve in Paraguay and Uzbekistan

Peace Corps duty runs in the family

By Angela Mapes
Star correspondent
February 2, 2004

Greenwood -- Don and Anita Rateike have met many people with children in the Peace Corps, but the Greenwood couple feel they have bragging rights with two of their children serving in the organization.

Jill Rateike, 21, has been working as a beekeeper in Paraguay in South America since September. Brad Rateike, 22, arrived in Uzbekistan in Central Asia recently to develop nongovernmental organizations. Both are Center Grove High School and Franklin College graduates.

Their situation is unique, said Scott Roskelley, a public relations specialist for the Peace Corps' Chicago recruiting office.

"To have two people from the same family serve at the same time is very unusual," Roskelley said.

Jill's and Brad's assignments place them 9,000 miles apart in extremely different situations.

Jill lives with a family in Yuty, a village in the southeast region of Paraguay. Her host family's home has electricity but no television or refrigerator. They use a bucket to draw water from a well.

Jill, a triple major in Spanish, history and American studies at Franklin, hoped to be able to use her Spanish skills in her assignment with the Peace Corps, and she got more than she bargained for. Spanish is considered the language of business in Paraguay, but Jill also has learned the country's native language, Guarani.

Her assignment as a beekeeper came as a surprise, but her parents say she has made the best of her training and looks forward to sharing her knowledge of beekeeping with others in her village. She has been stung without serious reactions.

"Jill says, 'I'm pretty tranquilo,' " Anita said, stumbling a bit over the Spanish word for "calm."

Don said his daughter works hard but realizes she doesn't need to prove herself to anyone.

"She's not out to kill world hunger in two days," he said. "She's learned to sit on the front porch and watch people go by."

Because Jill misses speaking English, Anita sends her daughter magazines and newspapers. News is old by the time it reaches Jill.

"She heard about Saddam Hussein," Anita said. "She heard about Arnold (Schwarzenegger), Michael Jackson. That's about it."

Brad's adventure has barely begun. After flights that took him to England, Armenia and finally Uzbekistan, Brad has settled in Tashkent, the country's capital.

Brad's first e-mail to family and friends included a request for letters, packages and e-mail -- plus a wistful reference to fast food.

"The food is good," he wrote, "but I would pay at least ($40) for a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell."

Brad, an English major at Franklin College, applied to the Peace Corps before his sister, but his application was deferred. Don calls the deferment a blessing because Brad was able to work in marketing in Indianapolis for a year and gain experience in "the real world."

"I think they've matched them up for their skills," Don said. "Brad's just a real people person."

The Rateikes have another son, Clif, 19. Clif agrees that his siblings have what it takes to succeed in the Peace Corps, but he has a different perspective on his sister's beekeeping assignment.

"It's just weird," he said.

When Clif completes his sophomore year at Butler University in May, he plans to hop a plane to Paraguay and spend a few weeks with his sister. Jill's host family is allowing her to build a small house on their property, and Clif will help her complete it. He also hopes he and his sister will be able to travel, possibly to Paraguay's neighbor, Brazil.

Jill looks forward to her younger brother's visit for another reason.

"Jill said it'll be fun to watch me tower over everybody," Clif said with a laugh.

He stands 6 feet 2 inches tall. Even Jill, at 5 feet 6 inches, is considered tall by Paraguayan standards.

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Story Source: Indianapolis Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Paraguay; COS - Uzbekistan ; Families



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