June 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Boca Raton News: Abbie Schwaderer had just finished her first year of Law School at Yale but in the fall of 1999, she did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: June 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Boca Raton News: Abbie Schwaderer had just finished her first year of Law School at Yale but in the fall of 1999, she did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.22.73) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 4:18 pm: Edit Post

Abbie Schwaderer had just finished her first year of Law School at Yale but in the fall of 1999, she did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

Abbie Schwaderer had just finished her first year of Law School at Yale but in the fall of 1999, she did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

Abbie Schwaderer had just finished her first year of Law School at Yale but in the fall of 1999, she did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

At the core of their hearts...

youíll find the Peace Corps

Published Sunday, June 13, 2004

by Heather Johnson

Abbie Schwaderer, 27, just finished her first year of Law School at Yale. But in the fall of 1999, this Spanish River High School graduate did something that the majority of young people donít do everyday. She joined the Peace Corps.

"After college, I went to a couple of Peace Corps information sessions. I carried around a blank application with me for two years. In the fall of Ď99, I was beginning to really think about it," she explained.

After talking with a friend who was also in the Peace Corps she finally decided to do it.

"The application process takes a long time for most people, but itís worth it," said Schwaderer.

Schwaderer left for Honduras in September of 2000 to be a natural resource volunteer and was an environmental educator who collaborated with local teachers. The village she lived in had approximately 3,000 people.

"It was very rural. People earned a living growing corn, beans, coffee and some had a few cattle, though the rich did have more cattle than others," she said.

"For the first six months that I was there, the whole town only had one phone. Whenever I would get a phone call, a little kid would ride his bike to my house to tell me that I had a call, and then he would ride his bike back. When I would get there to use the phone, there would be a waiting room for all the people who had gotten a phone call and were waiting for the person to call back," she laughed.

Although there were a lot of good times to be had, there were also a lot of rough times.

"In my second year, somebody burned the area by the top of the river where we got our water. We went without water for a whole week. And this was during the dry season," said Schwaderer.

Peace during

times of war

Jupiter-resident John Leslie was an oceanographer in El Salvador from 1976 to 1979 while he was in the Peace Corps.

"I wanted to gain experience in my field. A lot of people in my field couldnít get jobs, so I went back to school to get a graduate degree. And then I left to go into the Peace Corps," he stated. "Iíve always had aspirations to travel the world and that was an opportunity to do it."

Leslie was in El Salvador right before the civil war occurred. At that time, most of the land was in the hands of the rich, so if you gave someone there a small item from the United States, they were your friends for life, he said.

"These were common people. They had nothing. No accumulated wealth, they slept on dirt floors. But these people had a less stressful life than we did. To them it wasnít how much wealth that they had. It was what they had that made them wealthy."

The Corps of the matter

"I have an insatiable desire for anything foreign. Joining the Peace Corps for me was the most practical experience out of college," remarked Kim Feinberg, a 1994 Boca High graduate.

"The Peace Corps was always something on my radar. It was very familiar to me. I had a cousin who did it 20 years ago."

Feinberg, who is now a financial advisor in Miami, was in small business development in Nicaragua from 1998-2000 while in the Corps.

Her primary job was as a business liaison between small businesses. But she also spent a lot of time on secondary projects.

"I organized a softball league. I also helped young girls who dropped out of school and told them that there are a lot of opportunities that arise from an education."

But the thing that Feinberg loved most about her experience in the Peace Corps was the whole cultural experience itself. She was able to actually feel like a Nicaraguan.

"The ability to assimilate in another culture, because I felt like I got that far, I was seen as one of them. I felt that everything that came out of my mouth they took seriously," she said.

Give Peace [Corps]

a chance

President Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. With 170,000 plus volunteers to date, over 7,500 are currently volunteering. The majority of those are single women who have undergraduate degrees and whose average age is 28.

This is the largest number of volunteers the Peace Corps has had serving overseas for almost 29 years.

"The significant number of new trainees in the field and new applicants are enormous indicators that Americans are more willing than ever to dedicate two years of their life to serve others around the globe," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

All three volunteers said they considered their time in the Peace Corps to have been a fantastic experience and would love to do it again.

"I would do it in a heartbeat because it is such a rich experience. There is nothing better than being able to effect change and build relationships with people who are so different," said Feinberg.




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Story Source: Boca Raton News

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

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