February 18, 2003: Headlines: COS - Nepal: PCVs in the Field - Nepal: Chicago Daily Herald: PCV Mary Sanders works in conservation and environment in Nepal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : The Peace Corps in Nepal: February 18, 2003: Headlines: COS - Nepal: PCVs in the Field - Nepal: Chicago Daily Herald: PCV Mary Sanders works in conservation and environment in Nepal

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PCV Mary Sanders works in conservation and environment in Nepal



PCV Mary Sanders works in conservation and environment in Nepal

Peace Corps volunteers answer the call to serve the world

Daily Herald Reports
Posted on February 18, 2003

Feb. 28 has been designated Peace Corps Day in honor of the 42nd anniversary of the organization. More than 168,000 individuals have served in 136 countries around the world as Peace Corps volunteers.

Peace Corps volunteers range in age from 19 to 83, and 6 percent of volunteers are older than 50. There are 6,678 individuals serving in the Peace Corps, with 61 percent of them women.

Their service to the world includes education such as teaching English, health and community development, environment, business development, agriculture and technology; and programs in HIV and AIDS and other areas. They work in their host countries along with the people who live there.

Our 24-year-old daughter, Mary, decided more than a year ago to register to join the Peace Corps. After months of filling out forms and undergoing interviews, she was accepted. Then came the medical tests and check-ups to see if her health was good enough to stand up to the rigors of living under much different conditions than she had been used to.

Her assignment is in Nepal, and she will serve there for two years. She left in September, and for the first 10 weeks of training was housed, along with the other 23 trainees in her group, ranging in age from 21 to 61, in various host homes in a small town close to the Indian border. During that time, she was immersed in the culture and language of Nepal, and learned how to adapt to living in Nepal.

Conditions are much different from her life in America. Although the host family welcomed her with open arms, she also learned how to cook on a kerosene stove and to wash her clothes by hand. Hot water is often a luxury, and even hotels are sometimes not heated. Although it doesn't get as cold in Kathmandu as it does in some parts of the country, nights can be quite chilly.

In Kathmandu, which is considered to be the second-most polluted city in the world, her job is working with the Nepali on conservation and environmental issues. Others in her group are working in schools, with AIDS and HIV awareness groups, and with small businesses.

There have been a lot of adjustments, both for her and for us. It is difficult to have her so far away, in a country where the political situation is sometimes a bit unstable. But we have faith in the Peace Corps, which takes good care of its volunteers, monitoring government issues and health care, too.

Mailed letters can take up to three weeks to arrive, and packages may not get to her for two to three months. Thank heaven for e-mail and telephone.

The Peace Corps was something she wanted to do, something she worked hard to get into, and although the reality of the conditions she found the when she first arrived in the country was great, she has, we think, become more tolerant, more patient and adjusted better than we ever expected her to do.

This woman who loved long, hot showers now heats her own water for a quick bucket bath. She walks most places, moving aside for the cows who also travel on the streets; lives without television and heat; and deals with various bugs and mosquitoes and animals, large and small. She has dealt with food poisoning several times, and has learned to boil all drinking water and to soak fresh fruits and vegetables in an iodine solution before she eats them.

According to Gaddi H. Vasquez, Peace Corps director, "When former volunteers speak about their Peace Corps experiences, they share their deep understanding of people and cultures around the world. Their unique volunteer service demonstrates the heart of the Peace Corps - the best of America - and the agency has motivated more than 165,000 Americans to answer President John F. Kennedy's call in 1961."

When we talk to Mary, or get her e-mails, we are all amazed at all she has done, and the adjustments she has made and is making, and we are so proud of her, too.

For information on the Peace Corps, call (800) 424-8580, e-mail pcday@peacecorps.gov or visit www.peacecorps.gov.

Cecelia Sanders is the community liaison for The Salvation Army Golden Diners, a non-profit agency serving those ages 60 and over in Kane, McHenry and Kendall counties. Her column runs every other Tuesday. She can be reached at (630) 232-6676.





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

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Story Source: Chicago Daily Herald

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

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