January 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: The Oklahoman: The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bangladesh: Peace Corps Bangladesh : The Peace Corps in Bangladesh: January 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: The Oklahoman: The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh

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The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh

The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh

The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh

An occasional series: Bengalis show love of learning

By Susan Parrot
The Oklahoman

He's teaching English in Bangladesh. The New Year promises to hold more adventures for Guthrie native Andrew Conyers, a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh.

Conyers is teaching English to Bengali youth in the city of Tangail. He has settled in with his host family and made new friends in the central Bangladesh region.

"I'm not seen so much as a foreigner anymore but as more a part of the community," he said via e-mail to The Oklahoman.

One man, the owner of a spectacles shop, gave Conyers a shirt as a Christmas gift.

"He said ... 'You know I'm a simple man, but I realize you are here by yourself on a special day, so I wanted to get you a small gift.'

"Just the fact that he went out of his way meant the world to me," Conyers said.

The 24-year-old planned to spend New Year's with other Peace Corps volunteers in the capitol of Dhaka.

During the Christmas weekend, he met with five other volunteers in a town five hours away.

"It was one of my most enjoyable Christmases ever," he said. "We talked about our first two months at our sites and whatever else came up, including missing family. But we all agreed that our families are probably missing us more."

The volunteers went every afternoon for three days to a boys' orphanage where they played cricket, badminton and soccer with the youth.

"They had so much energy, and I have never seen so many smiles. I feel like the six of us made their day when we showed up," he said.

"This is just like the Peace Corps experience so far. I go somewhere thinking I'm going to have an effect on people and they are the ones that end up affecting me."

No destruction
Conyers said the earthquake and tsunami that hit south Asia last week did not cause destruction in his part of Bangladesh. But the country is prone to flooding during the rainy season, and is plagued by poverty and overpopulation. Conyers is teaching English five days a week to 42 students.

"The students are so eager to learn. They show up early and stay after class just to chitchat with me."

He said the students inspire him with their dedication.

"It's not like waking up in Guthrie, America, 30 minutes before class, jumping in your car and sliding in before the bell rings," he said.

"No, some of them live in the sticks outside the town and have minimal lighting to read and write. The motivation it takes to learn in this country makes me appreciate the value that some students put on education."

Conyers, a 2003 University of Oklahoma graduate, was among 48 recruits and the only Oklahoman in the Peace Corps' Bangladesh program.

Conyers' father, Howard Conyers, is administrator of the state courts system, and his stepmother, Susan Conyers, is a state Workers' Compensation Court judge.

Bangladesh, formerly called East Pakistan, is wedged between India and the Bay of Bengal. The country is smaller than Oklahoma, with a population of 141 million.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs Date: December 30 2004 No: 354 Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs
Peace Corps is currently assessing the situation in Thailand, anticipates a need for volunteers and is making an appeal to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps. Also read this message and this message from RPCVs in Thailand. All PCVs serving in Thailand are safe. Latest: Sri Lanka RPCVs, click here for info.

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Story Source: The Oklahoman

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



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