November 16, 2005: Headlines: COS - Benin: Weymouth News: Jonathan Kendall returns to states after two years in Peace Corps in Benin

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Peace Corps Benin : The Peace Corps in Benin: November 16, 2005: Headlines: COS - Benin: Weymouth News: Jonathan Kendall returns to states after two years in Peace Corps in Benin

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Jonathan Kendall returns to states after two years in Peace Corps in Benin

Jonathan Kendall returns to states after two years in Peace Corps in Benin

During his 27 months in Paraguay, Kendall's primary duties consisted of teaching English to 7th-10th graders, with class sizes averaging 60-65. Throughout his service he was able to secure funding for a school library as well as for the construction of new classrooms, in an effort to help reduce large class sizes.

Jonathan Kendall returns to states after two years in Peace Corps in Benin

Weymouth native returns to states after stint in Peace Corps

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Weymouth native Jonathan Kendall returned to the United States following two years as an English teacher with the Peace Corps. He was stationed in Ouedeme, Benin, a village of about 5,000 with no electricity or running water.

Benin, which is located along West Africa's southern coast, shares borders with Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. Following the decade of military rule that occurred after its independence in 1960, Benin has maintained a reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies. However, it remains one of the world's poorest nations, with an urgent need for human and material resources. Volunteers like Jonathan help to address these issues through a wide range of educational programs.

During his 27 months in Paraguay, Kendall's primary duties consisted of teaching English to 7th-10th graders, with class sizes averaging 60-65. Throughout his service he was able to secure funding for a school library as well as for the construction of new classrooms, in an effort to help reduce large class sizes. Additional projects included organizing a student soccer league, starting an English club, initiating a program of prizes and formal recognition for top students, and holding HIV/AIDS information sessions where medical supplies including condoms were disseminated.

Kendall, who graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with a B.A. in marketing, plans to pursue his master's degree in education and look for a teaching position in New York City. He is the son of two Boston-area teachers, and was able to organize a pen-pal program between his students and those in his mother's class in West Bridgewater. Kendall's father, William, is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, having served in Ghana from 1971 to 1973.

"Personally, I have learned a lot about myself and my limits," explains Kendall. "This knowledge gives me confidence to succeed at any profession that I choose. However, I've enjoyed teaching so much that I want to continue once I return to the states. I had to travel halfway across the world to find out what has always been in my blood." He cites additional benefits of service as "having a much clearer definition of who I am and what I want to do with my life than I did before my Peace Corps service.

Currently, there are 113 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Benin. Despite recent economic growth, the country, formerly known as Dahomey, continues to face serious financial, medical, and environmental issues. Volunteers work to aid the country's some 6,000,000 residents through programs in business development, education, environment, and health.

More than 182,000 Americans have served in 138 countries since President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. Peace Corps assignments include working to help fight hunger bringing clean water to communities, teaching children, helping start small businesses, and stopping the spread of AIDS.

The benefits of a two- year Peace Corps assignment include international and grassroots development experience, travel, adventure, medical and dental care, housing, a monthly stipend, 24 vacation days a year, and a readjustment allowance upon completion of service.

Training in language, technical skills, customs and culture is provided in the host country for three months before beginning service. Volunteers can earn credit towards a graduate degree while serving, or find ways to offset graduate school costs with fellowships offered to returned volunteers. For more information about Peace Corps, visit or call 800-424-8580.

Peace Corps hosts general information meetings every third Wednesday of the month in the Tip O'Neill Federal Building 10 Causeway St. in Boston. For directions, visit or call 617-565-5555.

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

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Story Source: Weymouth News

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