June 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Congo Kinshasa: Pittsburgh Live: Stephanie Knox returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Congo - Kinshasa (Zaire): Peace Corps Congo Kinshasa : The Peace Corps in Congo - Kinshasa: June 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Congo Kinshasa: Pittsburgh Live: Stephanie Knox returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 3:56 pm: Edit Post

Stephanie Knox returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February

Stephanie Knox returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February

Stephanie Knox returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February

Making a difference

By Mary Pickels


Sunday, June 12, 2005



An interest in acquiring a new language. A desire to give back, to make a difference at a relatively young age. A healthy sense of wanderlust.

Talk with a couple of returned Peace Corps volunteers, and one is likely to hear all three of those reasons for joining the international service agency. With humor and enthusiasm, they tell their tales, from living in isolated villages with few creature comforts, to the best methods of discouraging pickpockets.

After Stephanie Knox, 26, graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in 2001 she became interested in serving in the Peace Corps. While an undergraduate focusing on environmental studies and international development, she traveled to Panama with a group of students.

"We found people with nothing," she said, "and they would give you everything they had. Seeing that was inspiring. I just sort of came to the decision I wanted to try doing something abroad."

Knox, originally from Allison Park, Allegheny County, returned from her assignment to New Zaire, West Africa, in February. She will spend the summer working with her brother, Will, 24, on an Idaho guest ranch.

Although she speaks French, the language of the government in West Zaire, she had to learn the local language, Zarma, as well. Knox said she gave some thought to the idea of committing to West Africa for more than two years.

"I knew nothing about New Zaire," she said. "Two-thirds of the country is in the Sahara. My friends and family were all very supportive. ... In terms of my personal safety, I felt safer there than at home."

She lived in a mud hut with no electricity. The heat often drove her outside to sleep. Although her title was environmental volunteer, she worked on many projects in her village of 500.

"I worked with gender development with the women, and started a seed bank with peanuts," she said.

The women borrowed the seeds, and were expected to return 1 1/2 times the amount they borrowed from their own crop. She also started a letter exchange program between the students in her Hampton High School French teacher's class and the elementary students with whom she worked.

"It was so much more rewarding than I could ever have imagined," she said. "For some of the students, it was the first letter they ever received in their lives, and it was from America."

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

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June 6: PC suspends Uzbekistan program Date: June 7 2005 No: 640 June 6: PC suspends Uzbekistan program
Peace Corps has announced that it is suspending the Uzbekistan program after the visas of 52 Peace Corps volunteers who arrived in January were not renewed. The suspension comes after a State Department warning that terrorist groups may be planning attacks in Uzbekistan and after the killings in Andizhan earlier in May. Background: PCOL published a report on April 23 that Peace Corps volunteers who arrived in January were having visa difficulties and reported on safety and visa issues in Uzbekistan as they developed.

June 5, 2005:  Special Events Date: June 6 2005 No: 622 June 5, 2005: Special Events
Vote in the NPCA Election for new board before June 15
"American Taboo" author Phil Weiss in Maryland on June 18
"Rainforests and Refugees" showing in Portland, Maine until June 25
"Iowa in Ghana" on exhibit in Waterloo through June 30
RPCV's "Taking the Early Bus" at Cal State until Aug 15
RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

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Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
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Story Source: Pittsburgh Live

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



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