March 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Bulgaria: Older Volunteers: The Daily Journal: 64-year old PCV Bonnie Getsinger finds her calling in Bulgaria

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bulgaria: Peace Corps Bulgaria: The Peace Corps in Bulgaria: March 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Bulgaria: Older Volunteers: The Daily Journal: 64-year old PCV Bonnie Getsinger finds her calling in Bulgaria

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 8:29 pm: Edit Post

64-year old PCV Bonnie Getsinger finds her calling in Bulgaria

64-year old PCV Bonnie Getsinger finds her calling in Bulgaria

Students chat with member of Peace Corps

Staff Writer;
VINELAND -- Sacred Heart Grammar School sixth-graders sat in a tight, cross-legged cluster on the school's main office floor.

They listened to a faint voice -- at times barely audible -- through a speaker phone.

The call linked two continents.

It also connected the two places Bonnie Getsinger calls home.

Getsinger taught at Sacred Heart Grammar School during the 1960s.

Now 64, she has found her calling as a member of the Peace Corps. She's about to wrap up a three-year teaching assignment in a rural Bulgarian village.

During her stay, Getsinger has forwarded her journals to friend Theresa Smith, a Sacred Heart sixth-grade teacher.

Smith uses Getsinger's personal dispatches as a teaching tool.

The lessons got more personal Friday morning when Sacred Heart arranged a one-hour telephone call to let students talk directly to Getsinger.

The interview began promptly at 9 a.m. One at a time, the students spoke their questions into the phone. After a few seconds of static, Getsinger responded in a warm, cheery voice.

The students were curious about the Peace Corps.

Getsinger advised them it's never too early to prepare for public service. Volunteering their time to worthy causes is a good first step, she said.

Asked about the dangers she faces, Getsinger teased the students about sharing the streets with donkeys and ponies, noting pedestrians have to watch where they walk.

There are serious environmental issues, too.

At times, brown water flows from the taps.

Air pollution also is a concern, she said.

Getsinger spoke fondly about the Bulgarian people she's met.

They have welcomed her so much, she said, she rarely misses her American home.

"I feel fulfilled," she said.

Christa Fanelle, 11, asked if there were any McDonald's in Bulgaria.

Getsinger laughed.

"Two," she said.

The fast food menu is too expensive for the average Bulgarian family. But Getsinger disclosed she had recently sampled her first McFlurry.

"I never had one until I got here," she said.

The operator interrupted to say the call would be disconnected in five minutes.

There was a quick exchange of well wishes.

And Smith noted she was eager to welcome Getsinger when she returns to the United States in July.

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

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Story Source: The Daily Journal

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



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