February 28, 2003: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: PCVs in the Field - Ukraine: Vero Beach Press-Journal: PCV Karen Tranghese teaches English in Western Ukraine

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ukraine: Peace Corps Ukraine : The Peace Corps in the Ukraine: February 28, 2003: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: PCVs in the Field - Ukraine: Vero Beach Press-Journal: PCV Karen Tranghese teaches English in Western Ukraine

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PCV Karen Tranghese teaches English in Western Ukraine

PCV Karen Tranghese teaches English in Western Ukraine

Peace Corps to mark 42 years

In Indian River County, former Peace Corps volunteers plan to tell young people about the organization.

By Isabelle Gan staff writer
February 27, 2003

In a time rife with talk of war, Karen Tranghese chose to focus on peace. So right after graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 2001 she joined the Peace Corps.

Tranghese, 23, of Sebastian, left in October to start her two-year volunteer work as an English teacher in Western Ukraine.

Each day, she wakes up at 6:30 a.m. to start the icy trek to her classroom, where she teaches English to Ukrainian students.

"The biggest challenge I face is learning the language," she said via e-mail. "The other major challenge I face is getting my students to actually talk in class."

Tranghese is among more than 165,000 individuals who have served in 136 countries as Peace Corps volunteers since the organization started in 1961. This Friday, in celebration of the Peace Corps' 42nd anniversary, former volunteers all over the country will share their experiences to the public.

In Indian River County, former Peace Corps volunteers County Commissioner Fran Adams; Anjani Cirillo, principal at the Ma Jaya River School in Roseland; and Elwood Holzworth, of Wabasso plan to tell young people about the organization.

Adams and Cirillo will speak to students of the International Baccalaureate Program at Sebastian River High School today. Holzworth will be giving a slide presentation to Fellsmere Elementary fourth-graders on Friday.

The former volunteers plan to share an experience that they say changed their lives.

"I saw things from the other side. I saw how others see us as Americans," said Adams, who spent two years in Bogota, Colombia, building community centers.

Cirillo volunteered as a teacher trainer in Negros, Philippines, and became so immersed in the culture that she started dreaming in Visayan, the local language.

"You didn't have any of these western distractions," she said. She spent her two years there without driving a car or watching television.

Holzworth was sent to a remote corner of the world. He lived among the Banjabbi Tribe in Gabon in Central Africa.

His village, Mabanga, was a town of 200 people situated on a mesa in the rain forest. There, he helped the locals in various agricultural projects and learned what it meant to be poor in the developing world.

"You don't have hope. Poverty is when you don't see a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

The Peace Corps is an organization dedicated to serving developing nations in areas such as education, health, business and agriculture.

Often, volunteers are the only Americans in the towns and villages that they serve and they become ambassadors to cultures unaccustomed to the western life.

"I was the only white person on my island," said Raymond Erickson, who served in a small Micronesian island of 400 people.

The 77-year-old Fort Pierce resident was 68 years old and three years out of retirement when he decided to volunteer.

He taught at the local elementary school, opening his students' eyes to the world by teaching everything from English to geography and history.

Almost 10 years later, Erickson is still in touch with his host family, particularly the eldest daughter, 22-year-old Teresia Billy, who he helped move here. Billy now lives in Vero Beach and attends Indian River Community College.

Erickson's condominium is littered with mementos from Micronesia and he gazes often at the map of the islands propped up against his dining room wall.

He holds up a Peace Corps application form with his information neatly typed in. "I called the Peace Corps to re-enter," he said. "I'd love to go back to the Pacific."

- isabelle.gan@scripps.com

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: Vero Beach Press-Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ukraine; PCVs in the Field - Ukraine



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