July 8, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ecuador: Kennett Paper: Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ecuador: Peace Corps Ecuador : The Peace Corps in Ecuador: July 8, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ecuador: Kennett Paper: Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices

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Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices

Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices

Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices

KHS grad starts Peace Corps stint

By Prue Osborn 07/08/2004

This week Michelle MacLachlan begins a two-year adventure that will find her many miles from home teaching Ecuadorians proper health and nutrition practices. The recent Pennsylvania State University graduate was accepted into the Peace Corps after a long application process and will give two years, plus 10 weeks, of volunteer service in Ecuador.

MacLachlan graduated from Kennett High School in 2000 and had been thinking about joining the Peace Corps since she was in middle school. Her babysitter went through the program and inspired her to do the same. She filled out an on-line application last September and was interviewed. Many medical and legal forms were filled out and she finally learned of her acceptance and assignment in early spring. She knows she will be in Ecuador, but will not find out exactly where or under what conditions until she gets further into the training program.

New Peace Corps volunteers meet in Miami for two days, after which they depart for their regions of service and train for 10 weeks. MacLachlan and 35 other volunteers head for Quito, Ecuador July 9. She said she was told to pack no more than 70 pounds in two bags and to be prepared for just about any climate. She could be placed in the jungle or in the mountains or somewhere in between. The weather depends on the elevation.

The 21-year-old MacLachlan studied Spanish education at Penn State. During her junior year she spent five months living and studying in Spain, which fueled her desire for travel and adventure. "I've always wanted to live in another culture and work in another culture," she said.

According to a Peace Corps press release, "MacLachlan will join more than 172,000 Americans who have served in over 136 countries since President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961."

The release noted that President George W. Bush recently proposed to double the size of the Peace Corps and encouraged all Americans to serve at least two years.

The Peace Corps encourages volunteers to assess the needs of the community in which they are placed and then initiate whatever grassroots programs they feel are needed, MacLachlan said. Her assignment is to train health workers and families to improve the health and nutritional conditions in the community. MacLachlan said she is a little apprehensive because there is so much she does not know, but said that is the reason for the 10 weeks of training in Quito.

During training she and other volunteers will live with a families. After training she will be placed in a community, perhaps with another Peace Corps volunteer or alone. She has the choice to live with a family or find a place to stay on her own. She said she will probably choose to live on her own. The Peace Corps provides a "living stipend" each week so she can find a place to live and the furniture and equipment she will require. "I won't be living like a queen. I'll be living the way the people in the community live," she said.

MacLachlan said she hopes to have the opportunity to go to a larger city once a month to e-mail home. She plans to buy a phone card to call her parents and she said her family might have the opportunity to visit her in Ecuador. How do her parents feel about this? "It is sad to say goodbye, but they are excited for me. I'm a little nervous, but it's a mixture. I'm more excited than nervous," she said.

After the Peace Corps MacLachlan said she will probably teach. "I love working with kids and I love Spanish. Those are my two passions."

©The Kennett Paper 2004




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Story Source: Kennett Paper

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

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