May 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Grenada: Dover Sherborn Tab: Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Grenada: Peace Corps Grenada : The Peace Corps in Grenada: May 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Grenada: Dover Sherborn Tab: Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-44-226.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.44.226) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit Post

Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada

Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada

Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada

They who worked 'the toughest jobs'

By Michelle Apuzzio/ Correspondent
Thursday, May 13, 2004


Peace Corps volunteers tell their stories at Peace Abbey meeting

SHERBORN - When Rev. Nathan Detering, a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sherborn, graduated from college, he needed time to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

His hideout? Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Grenada.

Three months of training on the resort island of St. Lucia, followed by nearly two years at what he called "Club Fed" in Grenada, where he occupied a room overlooking the Caribbean, certainly sound like a vacation. But it was his service as a Peace Corps worker that changed his life and prompted him to become a minister.

He had completed four years of training to become an elementary school teacher, but found that educators in Grenada had only two weeks of training. Detering said he became "an instant expert," which was a much different experience than he would have had in the U.S. after graduation. "There was an immediate respect and appreciation," he remembered.

It wasn't all rosy, though. Detering had to accept that corporal punishment was standard while he worked with teachers to improve their methods.

The opportunities were abundant, however. He set up school libraries by coordinating with his parents in Missouri to receive donations from book drives they held. He also wrote a column in the Grenada newspaper entitled "This Distant Country," offering an outsider's perspective of the island. It was there that he met his wife, also a Peace Corps volunteer.

His career path became clearer when a fellow volunteer, the wife of a Unitarian minister, shared tapes of her husband's sermons. "Being away from everything I knew allowed me to really think about myself," he said. "It was kind of like a retreat, really, a burning off of the excess and finding out who I really was."

Detering and others spoke about their work as Peace Corps volunteers last week during an informational meeting at the Peace Abbey in Sherborn. Flanked by a poster of Gandhi and anti-war propaganda, James Arena-DeRosa, regional director of the Peace Corps, explained how the organization had changed since President John F. Kennedy founded it 43 years ago.

The first volunteers, he said, worked as teachers or in agricultural and community development positions in one of six countries. The Peace Corps is now present in 70 countries with programs that employ skilled volunteers in the business development, information technology and environmental education fields. Mexico, a new addition to the list of Peace Corps sites, is taking advantage of the availability of these highly skilled workers.

The median age of a Peace Corps volunteer has risen also.

"Most volunteers, in the past, were right out of college," explained Arena-DeRosa. "Two-thirds are still under the age of 25, but a quarter of the volunteers are mid-career professionals and 10 percent are retired."

People often ask Peace Corps recruiter George Rutherford, also a former volunteer, if the organization makes a difference. "Change happens over time," he said, as he likened the experience to the grassroots campaign that made recycling a widespread initiative. "At first, only a few people cared, but then more people cared and that made a difference."

Safety is a concern for prospective volunteers as they consider life in a remote location. Not all sites are as Westernized as Detering's post. Rutherford cited that the Peace Corps pulled out of Haiti earlier this year to illustrate that security is a top priority for the organization.

The volunteers who shared their experiences agreed that they received as much as they gave, if not more, from the communities in which they worked and lived for two years. It also gave them a chance to change the international stereotypes of Americans.

In Zaire, Rutherford said, "I had to explain that I don't carry a gun when I'm at home. I don't go to Disneyland every month, and I don't own six houses."

Jason Ricciardi, an intern at the Peace Abbey and soon-to-be graduate from Stonehill College in Easton, will set off for Ecuador on July 5 as a Peace Corps volunteer. The criminal justice major spent a semester studying in Florence, Italy, and found that "being around other cultures makes him happy."

He hopes to form his own perceptions of Ecuador's cultures through the firsthand experience rather than having his views formed by others. He will have three months of technical, cultural and language training before volunteering in the rural public health program.

"I'm so excited. I don't know what to expect," he said.




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Story Source: Dover Sherborn Tab

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

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By Nina Victoria (quebec-hse-ppp229350.qc.sympatico.ca - 69.159.198.230) on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 4:50 pm: Edit Post

Hello,

I'm going to Grenada soon for 3 months and am looking for volunteer opportunities. Can you give me information on volunteering in Grenada? I am especially interested in the Grenada School for Special Education.

Thank you,
Nina


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