2007.10.28: October 28, 2007: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: COS - Moldova: Older Volunteers: Detroit Free Press: Bolivia RPCV Pan Godchaux to serve second tour as Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years later in Moldova

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : Peace Corps Bolivia: New Stories: 2007.10.28: October 28, 2007: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: COS - Moldova: Older Volunteers: Detroit Free Press: Bolivia RPCV Pan Godchaux to serve second tour as Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years later in Moldova

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-168-58.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.168.58) on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 10:38 am: Edit Post

Bolivia RPCV Pan Godchaux to serve second tour as Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years later in Moldova

Bolivia RPCV Pan Godchaux  to serve second tour as Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years later in Moldova

Godchaux has already been assigned to the tiny country of Moldova in eastern Europe, and Safford hopes to be somewhere nearby. Part of the holdup for Safford is that she has high blood pressure, so she must be close to a major city or large hospital -- accommodations the Peace Corps officials say they are happy to make more and more often nowadays. For Godchaux, her return to the Peace Corps is almost 40 years in the making. She joined at 22 and spent just over a year in Bolivia with her ex-husband, Justin Godchaux Jr.

Bolivia RPCV Pan Godchaux to serve second tour as Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years later in Moldova

Birmingham friends plan to head off for Peace Corps service in February

October 28, 2007

BY ALEX P. KELLOGG

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Caption: Pan Godchaux, right, and her friend and business partner, Susan Safford, gut a building in Mackinaw City that will open in the spring as headquarters for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. Godchaux and Safford plan to be volunteers with the Peace Corps in February; Godchaux will be in Moldova and Safford has requested a posting nearby.

Like a lot of baby boomers nowadays, Pan Godchaux and Susan Safford aren't quite ready to kick up their feet, relax and enjoy life after retirement.

So Godchaux, a well-known 61-year-old political consultant and former state representative, and Safford, her 58-year-old best friend and longtime business partner, plan to join the Peace Corps in February. The pair, both divorcées, met at Birmingham Unitarian Church, where they organized rummage sales. They have saved money for years by splitting the cost of Safford's home in Birmingham.

Advertisement
For Godchaux, who received her formal invitation to rejoin the Peace Corps earlier this month, it will be her second tour. For Safford, who hopes to receive her invitation any day now, it would be her first.

Godchaux and Safford are becoming part of what the federal government agency hopes will be a growing number of able-bodied baby boomers looking for a second career in volunteerism. The corps launched a huge initiative this spring aimed at bringing in more 50-plus volunteers and tapping into the nation's growing elderly population.

"I'd always planned to do it again, once I got somewhere farther along in life," says Godchaux, a former Republican representative for the 40th district, which includes Birmingham, who made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Congress last year with Safford's help.

Last month, Godchaux retired as a member of the Board of Education for Oakland Schools, the intermediate school district for Oakland County.

As for her friends and three grown children -- Britt Godchaux, 29; Kelly Olin, 26, and Justin Godchaux III, 24 -- none of them are worried or surprised about her decision, Pan Godchaux says. "It's not like I haven't done this before, so it's not like this is out of the blue or out of character."

Both Godchaux and Safford have children in their late 20s or early 30s, about the average age of a typical Peace Corps volunteer these days (28). Safford's two daughters, Megan Nishibori and Emily Villajuan, are 30 and 32, respectively.

"This is something I wanted to do since I graduated from college," says Safford, "but I got married instead."

According to Peace Corps officials, thanks to the country's changing demographics, the number of baby boomers in the corps increased in the 1990s from around 1% of all volunteers abroad to nearly 6%.

Today, the corps has 8,079 volunteers abroad, 406 of whom are 50 or older. Though it's too early to know by the numbers how much its new initiative has increased interest in the corps, anecdotally, officials say they're seeing more applications, and inquires are pouring into their regional offices.

For older volunteers, joining now "fulfills that desire they may have had earlier in life to sign up," says Laura Lartigue, a spokeswoman for the corps. Plus, she says, "These are people who probably heard President Kennedy's call to service when the Peace Corps was founded."

The Peace Corps was founded by executive order of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Another president's mother, the late Lillian Carter, is probably the best-known senior volunteer. She joined the Corps at 68 in 1966 and served in India.

"I guess it's a little shocking that she wants to go, but she's been talking about this for, I don't know, years," says Safford's daughter Emily Villajuan, who, along with her husband, Noel, will be attending to her mom's home if she goes. "So it's wonderful to see it coming into being. My mom sacrificed so much to raise us and raise us well. So for me, I'm super-proud of her."

"For my mom, this makes complete and utter sense, as she's always been an activist," says Britt Godchaux. Also, she jokes, "it's pretty logical when you think about how many retirees are lolling around, bored."

Before heading abroad, Godchaux and Safford are spending most of their time volunteering Up North while staying in a friend's cabin in Mackinaw City. While there, they're leading tours of a local museum and helping build a new office for a nonprofit group that operates a number of lighthouses -- work not unlike what they could be doing abroad.

Godchaux has already been assigned to the tiny country of Moldova in eastern Europe, and Safford hopes to be somewhere nearby. Part of the holdup for Safford is that she has high blood pressure, so she must be close to a major city or large hospital -- accommodations the Peace Corps officials say they are happy to make more and more often nowadays.

For Godchaux, her return to the Peace Corps is almost 40 years in the making. She joined at 22 and spent just over a year in Bolivia with her ex-husband, Justin Godchaux Jr.

Though she's already done it, "Pan hasn't suckered me into this," jokes Safford, whose family regularly vacationed with her friend's when their kids were growing up. "All our kids have the same sentiment: 'Go for it, Mom.' "

"When I did this 40 years ago, all I had to do was drop a couple cardboard boxes at my parents' house," says Godchaux, who admits that packing her life into boxes was a bit difficult this time around. "This time, of course, it's very different."

Contact ALEX P. KELLOGG at 248-351-3693 or akellogg@freepress.com.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: October, 2007; Peace Corps Bolivia; Directory of Bolivia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Bolivia RPCVs; Peace Corps Moldova; Directory of Moldova RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Moldova RPCVs; Older Volunteers; Michigan





When this story was posted in November 2007, this was on the front page of PCOL:


Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed
Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act Date: October 27 2007 No: 1206 Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act
Senator Chris Dodd vowed to filibuster the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped this administration violate the civil liberties of Americans. "It is time to say: No more. No more trampling on our Constitution. No more excusing those who violate the rule of law. These are fundamental, basic, eternal principles. They have been around, some of them, for as long as the Magna Carta. They are enduring. What they are not is temporary. And what we do not do in a time where our country is at risk is abandon them."

Peace Corps News Peace Corps Library Peace corps History RPCV Directory Sign Up

November 12, 2007: This Month's Top Stories Date: November 12 2007 No: 1210 November 12, 2007: This Month's Top Stories
Chris Dodd's service began with Peace Corps 9 Nov
Matthew McCue called back to Iraq from Peace Corps 9 Nov
Tschetter Visits Turkmenistan 9 Nov
Lara Weber writes: Oprah Winfrey's stumble 9 Nov
Heather Thompson works with P Diddy 7 Nov
Karen Hughes' public diplomacy came to nothing 4 Nov
James Rupert writes: Musharraf seizes power 3 Nov
Martin Puryear is Man of Mysteries 2 Nov
Sarah Chayes says Taliban score major victory 1 Nov
John Sullivan runs Sudan Divestment Task Force. 30 Oct
Tom Bissell writes: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 28 Oct
Chris Shays to seek 12th term 25 Oct
Helen Dudley can't stop giving 25 Oct
Joseph Acaba named to STS-119 Shuttle Crew 22 Oct
Vince Floriani in USA Today's All-USA Teacher Team 22 Oct
Kelly J. Morris writes "The Bight of Benin" 20 Oct
Charles Shelan was Buddhist monk Wondam’s teacher 19 Oct
Peace Corps returning to Liberia 18 Oct
David Peckham started Village Bicycle Project 16 Oct
Alberto Ibarguen announces grant for "Project Impunity" 15 Oct
Campbell Memorial Park boosts ecotourism 15 Oct
Bowers Family keep daughter's dream alive 15 Oct

What is the greatest threat facing us now?  Date: September 12 2007 No: 1195 What is the greatest threat facing us now?
"People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing? I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there - ones that we can take advantage of?" Read more.

Senator Dodd's Peace Corps Hearings Date: July 25 2007 No: 1178 Senator Dodd's Peace Corps Hearings
Read PCOL's executive summary of Senator Chris Dodd's hearings on July 25 on the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act and why Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter does not believe the bill would contribute to an improved Peace Corps while four other RPCV witnesses do. Highlights of the hearings included Dodd's questioning of Tschetter on political meetings at Peace Corps Headquarters and the Inspector General's testimony on the re-opening of the Walter Poirier III investigation.

Paul Theroux: Peace Corps Writer Date: August 15 2007 No: 1185 Paul Theroux: Peace Corps Writer
Paul Theroux began by writing about the life he knew in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His first first three novels are set in Africa and two of his later novels recast his Peace Corps tour as fiction. Read about how Theroux involved himself with rebel politicians, was expelled from Malawi, and how the Peace Corps tried to ruin him financially in John Coyne's analysis and appreciation of one of the greatest American writers of his generation (who also happens to be an RPCV).

Ambassador revokes clearance for PC Director Date: June 27 2007 No: 1166 Ambassador revokes clearance for PC Director
A post made on PCOL from volunteers in Tanzania alleges that Ambassador Retzer has acted improperly in revoking the country clearance of Country Director Christine Djondo. A statement from Peace Corps' Press Office says that the Peace Corps strongly disagrees with the ambassador’s decision. On June 8 the White House announced that Retzer is being replaced as Ambassador. Latest: Senator Dodd has placed a hold on Mark Green's nomination to be Ambassador to Tanzania.

Suspect confesses in murder of PCV Date: April 27 2007 No: 1109 Suspect confesses in murder of PCV
Search parties in the Philippines discovered the body of Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell near Barangay Batad, Banaue town on April 17. Director Tschetter expressed his sorrow at learning the news. “Julia was a proud member of the Peace Corps family, and she contributed greatly to the lives of Filipino citizens in Donsol, Sorsogon, where she served,” he said. Latest: Suspect Juan Duntugan admits to killing Campbell. Leave your thoughts and condolences .

He served with honor Date: September 12 2006 No: 983 He served with honor
One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on this website on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.


Read the stories and leave your comments.






Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Detroit Free Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; COS - Moldova; Older Volunteers

PCOL39623
28


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: