March 29, 2004 - The Denmark Times and Democrat,: Will McCain works as Peace Corps health educator in Senegal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Peace Corps Senegal : The Peace Corps in Senegal: March 29, 2004 - The Denmark Times and Democrat,: Will McCain works as Peace Corps health educator in Senegal

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 6:37 pm: Edit Post

Will McCain works as Peace Corps health educator in Senegal

Will McCain works as Peace Corps health educator in Senegal

Will McCain works as Peace Corps health educator in Senegal

Denmark man works as Peace Corps health educator in West Africa

By LAURA G. CARLSON, T&D Denmark Correspondent

Counseling teenagers in Brazil. Launching an Armenian computer center. Promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in Tanzania. Teaching chemistry in a Ghanaian high school.

Peace Corps volunteers work in a variety of areas as part of the U.S. government-sponsored volunteer organization that is active in more than 80 countries.

A 22-year-old Denmark man is one of 40 new Peace Corps trainees who arrived in Senegal, West Africa on March 17 for a three-month training program.

Will McCain was not familiar with any of the other trainees until he joined the group in Boston for an orientation on March 15 before their flight to Africa.

He has since e-mailed his family and has had one telephone conversation with them, reporting that the young group includes two married couples, 32 young women, one of whom is from Charlotte, N.C., and four single young men. All members are in their 20s and early 30s.

McCain expects to work in rural Senegal as a health educator during his two-year stint in the Peace Corps. He began his volunteer mission with high hopes.

"I look forward to finding out about the rest of the world, the world we don't get to see. To put faces to the people of the Third World and understand their challenges is important to me," McCain said.

For the next three months, the new group of Peace Corps trainees will go through training in the town of Thi`es, about two hours from Senegal's capital, Dakar. Orienting themselves to the country, including training on safety issues and the local dialect, Wolof, took up the first three days in the training center. Trainees spent the next several days visiting a host family's home before returning to Thi`es for intensive training in language, technical skills and health and safety.

McCain's mother, Louise, a Blackville-Hilda Elementary School teacher, is enthusiastic about the new chapter in her youngest son's life.

"I'm excited for him. He's 22 years old with no romantic interest right now. It's such an opportunity for him," she said. "I'll miss him, but I'm ... proud of him ... that he's giving of himself to serve others this way. I hope we can manage to go visit him sometime next year."

McCain is a 2003 Clemson University graduate with a bachelor's degree in language and international trade. He is an Eagle Scout, having been a member of Boy Scout Troop 77 sponsored by Bethel Park United Methodist Church.

He persevered through a rigorous application process to become a Peace Corps nominee and, now, trainee.

McCain and other trainees can leave the Peace Corps and return home at any point along their voluntary journey. While they receive a modest living allowance, they are not paid for the work they do under primitive conditions far from home.

Senegal, the westernmost country on the African continent, is about the size of South Dakota. It is a semiarid country with a population of more than 10 million and shares borders with Mali, Gambia, Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.

The landscape consists of flat, monotonous plains in the middle of the arid, sandy Sahel region.

Senegal Country Director Malcolm Versel says the goal of the mission is that every volunteer have a positive, memorable experience in their host country.

"The Peace Corps experience is unlike any other. Our commitment is to ensure that every volunteer has a memorable experience and makes a positive and lasting contribution," he states in an informational brochure. "The most valuable contribution a volunteer can make is to transfer skills to community members, enabling them to continue to develop on their own. The community is thus empowered to continue the work after the volunteer leaves."

Versel said agriculture, small enterprise development, agroforestry, ecotourism and environmental education are among the Senegal government's development priorities. He said the Peace Corps program in Senegal addresses all of these sectors, with volunteered assigned to one primary sector.

# T&D Correspondent Laura Carlson can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-793-3336.

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Story Source: The Denmark Times and Democrat,

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



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