September 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: Newport News Times: Peace Corps draws Newport librarian Kay Eldon away for two years service in Ukraine

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ukraine: Peace Corps Ukraine : The Peace Corps in the Ukraine: September 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: Newport News Times: Peace Corps draws Newport librarian Kay Eldon away for two years service in Ukraine

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 3:32 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps draws Newport librarian Kay Eldon away for two years service in Ukraine

Peace Corps draws Newport librarian Kay Eldon away for two years service in Ukraine

Peace Corps draws Newport librarian Kay Eldon away for two years service in Ukraine

Peace Corps draws Newport librarian away for two years service
By Susan T. Wehren Of the News-Times

Caption: Kay Eldon, 51 has a little more than a week left at her job at the Newport Public Library. She is heading off for two years with the Peace Corps in Ukraine. Peace Corps is in 32 countries and only 6 percent of the volunteers are over the age of 50. Eldon will be teaching English and she will return to Newport library when she comes home in 2006. (Photo By Susan T. Wehren)

Kay Eldon has sold her house and her car. She is packing boxes to put her personal possessions in storage and she is taking a two-year leave of absence from her job.

Eldon is not putting her life on hold. No, this 51-year-old librarian is stepping out from behind the circulation desk and her computers to take her skills and knowledge to Ukraine where she will be a member of the Peace Corps.
A trip she made last year to Armenia "pushed her over the edge," says Eldon, who came home from that experience and put in her Peace Corps application.

Acceptance came in February and her assignment came this summer. She leaves Sept. 26 for two days of orientation in Washington, D.C., and from there flies to Kiev, Ukraine, for three months of language of training. While in Kiev she will live with a host family.

Eldon has asked that she be placed in a rural setting and she is hoping to settle in western Ukraine. She will be teaching English, probably at the high school level. Her computer skills might also be used as well as the possibility of adding other classes as time progress.

Eldon has been in touch with volunteers who are now in Kiev so she is getting a feeling of what will be expected of her once she gets to Ukraine.

Eldon has been at the Newport Library for 10 years. She attended library school in New York City and then moved to Arizona. "I have lived in Newport the longest I have lived anywhere in my life," she says.

The librarian spent 13 months in Israel and five years in England, so living in a foreign country will not be entirely new.

Her experience in Armenia was with Heifer International. The program is designed to end hunger and poverty. Since 1944 it has provided food and income-producing animals and training to millions of resource-poor families in 115 countries, according to the Heifer International Website.

She was there two to three weeks and was struck by the poverty of the people and their living conditions. "They have nothing. Some of them were living in shipping containers," she says with the knowledge that she might be faced with similar situations in Ukraine.

An earlier experience with Heifer International took her to western Ukraine. The beauty of Ukraine and Armenia is what convinced Eldon to request that part of the world for her Peace Corps experience. Her maternal grandparents also came from Ukraine.

Eldon is limited to 80 to 100 pounds of luggage for her travels. She will not need an extensive wardrobe but she will need warm clothing. Snow boots and long underwear are already packed.

Eldon is not too worried about learning the language since Ukrainian is similar to Russian, which she studied in college and can still read.

Most of the Peace Corps literature is written for recent college graduates, but Eldon has been told there is a grandmother or two in the 73 volunteers who will be in this, the 27th Peace Corps group to Ukraine.

Eldon knows if she is in a city she will have e-mail, but there is a good chance a rural setting will have limited outside communications for Eldon.

"The two years will fly," she says.

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Newport News Times

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



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