May 11, 2004: Headlines: COS - Armenia: Older Volunteers: Syracuse Post Standard: Janet Munro to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Armenia: Peace Corps Armenia : The Peace Corps in Armenia: May 11, 2004: Headlines: COS - Armenia: Older Volunteers: Syracuse Post Standard: Janet Munro to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia

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Janet Munro to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia

Janet Munro to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia

Janet Munro to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia

A new way to serve
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
By Ngoc Huynh
Staff writer

Janet Munro, of Cazenovia, is a minority among the thousands of Peace Corps volunteers.

The average age of a Peace Corps volunteer is 28; Munro is 69. Before she retired as a teacher at East Syracuse-Minoa High School last year, Munro knew she wanted to do more, give something back.

"I've always known that I will reach the stage of my life where I have no responsibility," she said, "and shed my garments and I can completely forget about me and help other people."

This mother of five and grandmother of 13 has been reading about Armenia in southwestern Asia, where the Peace Corps stationed her. She is scheduled to leave in June. She will be trained for three months and then serve for two years.

Her daughter Nancy Chase, of Manlius, is proud of her mom.

"This (Peace Corps) will allow her to help people and use her talent," Chase said. "She pushes herself to do a lot and she's an inspiration.

"We're going to miss her," Chase added. "That's the only hard part of the whole thing."

Munro was an English teacher for 28 years, and she has been selected to train Armenian English teachers in methodologies and curriculum building.

She will train for three months in Dilijan, a resort town about 68 miles from the capital, Yerevan. After her training, Munro does not know where in Armenia she will be placed.

Munro said she does not plan to duplicate her comfortable American life in Armenia. She knows bucket baths are common and not all toilets are modern.

Barbara Crossett, Munro's colleague and a former student, said Munro has a thirst for knowledge.

"She's like a walking encyclopedia. She knows a lot about a lot of different

subjects. She's very smart," said Crossett, now an English teacher at ES-M High School.

Crossett's children also had Munro as a teacher.

Armenia is about the size of Maryland, with a population of about 3 million. It prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity, in the early fourth century.

Munro read that Armenia is about 2,700 years old. She said she is looking forward to learning about its culture, history and people.

Early last month, Munro contacted a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia named Dawn Sheppard for advice and suggestions.

Sheppard's first e-mail to Munro said, "You are going to love Armenia. I have never known friendlier people. They will give you all they have which isn't much."

Munro wanted to know whether shorts - which she wears when she jogs four times a week - would be acceptable for a woman her age. "No Armenians wear shorts, men or women," came the reply.

To prepare for her trip, Munro has bought a Swiss army knife, books and a sleeping bag for temperatures of minus 20 degrees. Temperatures in Armenia are similar to those in New York state, but not all homes have modern heating systems.

"I'm not terribly nervous," Munro said, "but I'm beginning to feel separation pain."

There are 7,533 Peace Corps volunteers, according to Bart Kendrick, regional public affairs specialist. He said about 6 percent are over age 50. He added that people who participate usually change their lives upon returning to the United States.

Some even seek employment with the Peace Corps, Kendrick said.

"I think it's one of those kinds of experiences that aren't easily erased," Kendrick said.
© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.

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Story Source: Syracuse Post Standard

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Armenia; Older Volunteers



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