Palm Springs woman ends Bulgarian mission as English teacher

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Palm Springs woman ends Bulgarian mission as English teacher

Palm Springs woman ends Bulgarian mission as English teacher

Palm Springs woman ends Bulgarian mission as English teacher

Peace Corps is volunteer’s home Palm Springs woman ends Bulgarian mission as English teacher

By Marianne Probst special to The Desert Sun July 15th, 2000

The past couple of years have not been average for Palm Springs resident Marilyn Purdy; but then, again, Purdy isn’t average either.

Purdy, 69, has been in Bulgaria for the past two years completing a Peace Corps mission, and returned home July 7.

She said she is happy to be back in the United States, but is having trouble adjusting to resuming her life in the valley.

“I feel like I left behind a part of my heart in Bulgaria,” Purdy said. “I miss both the Bulgarian and American friends that I made through the Peace Corps.”

Purdy has always had a taste for adventure. When she was 18, she joined the Army and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.

So, it was no surprise to friends and family when, despite her age, she announced her desire to join the Peace Corps.

Her friends and family were supportive, especially her son, Greg, who encouraged her to go for it.

Purdy’s three-month trainee program began in Washington, D.C., and was completed in Samokov, Bulgaria.

It was an intensive program that provided instruction in the Bulgarian language and culture, and technical training.

School: After completing the program, she was assigned to the Vassil Levski School in the town of Novi Pazar, Bulgaria, where she taught English to second-, third- and fourth-grade students.

She also organized and directed an English-speaking club for 11th-grade students who were able to correspond with high school students in California.

In addition to teaching, she also received a grant to establish a computer lab/English resource room, from which students, teachers and others from the community could benefit.

Purdy also kept busy by creating a fund-raising program that allowed her to buy supplies and refreshments to use at a summer camp for students.

Purdy’s son Greg also helped out by sending magazines for the students to enjoy.

When Purdy was not teaching, she was traveling. Athens, Romania, Dublin, and London were some of the places she visited while abroad.

Purdy also visited Sofia, Bulgaria, monthly to meet with other Peace Corps friends and to enjoy their free time.

On her November visit to Sofia, Purdy saw President Clinton. Purdy and her friends made their way through the crowds for 40 minutes just to see Clinton.

“We felt so proud to be an American as hundreds of American flags were being waved,” Purdy said. “It was a very moving experience for we Peace Corps volunteers; to be so far from home and see and hear the man representing our country.”

Community: Even though Purdy is at home now, she continues to help the Bulgarian community. She sends pictures, books and old clothes to the Vassil Levski School and encourages anyone to contribute to the cause.

She is also looking into joining AmeriCorps, where she hopes to work with the elderly and help those who are illiterate.

“I felt this was something I needed to do and I know I would have regretted it had I not joined the Peace Corps,” Purdy said. “ I would recommend it to anyone, especially someone who wants a rewarding adventure or challenge.”

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Story Source: The Desert Sun

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



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