From Penn State to the Peace Corps: Journal of a new Volunteer in El Salvador

Peace Corps Online: Directory: El Salvador: Peace Corps El Salvador : The Peace Corps in El Salvador: From Penn State to the Peace Corps: Journal of a new Volunteer in El Salvador

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 11:09 am: Edit Post

From Penn State to the Peace Corps: Journal of a new Volunteer in El Salvador

From Penn State to the Peace Corps: Journal of a new Volunteer in El Salvador

From Penn State to the Peace Corps: Journal of a new Volunteer in El Salvador

From Penn State to the Peace Corps:
Journal of a new Volunteer

Craig Maddox, who originally created this page as a class project, recently was accepted as a Peace Corps volunteer. He will be working on an agro-forestry project in El Salvador. Since many potential volunteers want to know what the application process is like, we thought we'd take advantage of Craig's situation to show by example what the process can be like.

Important! This is not what it is like for everyone. I don't even know if there is such a thing as a "typical" application process. Craig handed in his application in October of 1996, and will leave for training in June of 1997--something like 8 months later. In my case, I filled out the application in January and was on a plane to Africa in May. You never know!

* 16 January 1996 Met Patrick Tobin at the Volunteer Fair in the HUB on campus and began to develop an interest in becoming a volunteer.

* 18 January Met with Patrick in his office to learn more about Peace Corps service. Received my application.

* Spring Semester 1996 Began to develop my volunteering experiences by volunteering at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, S.P.E.A.K., and Habitat For Humanity. Also, created the web page in coordination with a requirement for my English 202 class. Kept close contact with Patrick

* August I finally began to really work on the application.

* 24 October Finally handed in my completed application

* 25 October Had interview with Patrick Tobin.

* 3 November Received Forestry/Agricultural Addendum via fax, filled out the questions and returned it

* 12 November Received nomination packet with medical questionnaire, reference letters, fingerprints, information update questionnaire

* 19 November Mailed my medical questionnaire back to Peace Corps

* 20 December Mailed nomination packet (four reference letters, questionnaire) to the Evaluation Division

* 7 January 1997 Received Peace Corps medical and dental packets

* 19 February Finally mailed my completed medical and dental packet back to Peace Corps

* 24 March Received medical and dental clearance letter

* 29 March Received reimbursement check for medical and dental exams

* 5 April Received my invitation for Agro-Forestry/Soil Conservation in El Salvador. Begin training 30 June 1997 in Guatemala.

* 10 April Called main office and accepted the invitation. Had pictures taken for the passport application and took completed passport application to post office to be mailed to Peace Corps.

* 15 April Had pictures taken for the Visa application.

* 17 April Mailed visa application to Peace Corps.

* 22 May Received my El Salvador Information Packet. I also learned that I will be training in El Salvador, instead of Guatemala. A training program has been established in El Salvador, recently, because my training class will be the first class of El Salvadoran Volunteers to train entirely in El Salvador. Anyway, I have about 33 days before I leave. I'm excited, anxious and overwhelmed.

* 18 September I hope this letter reaches you in fine health and spirits. I'm sorry I haven't written until now, but as you know we have next to no free time in training. We started out with 15 people n our group (9 men and 6 women) and there are 14 because one guy left on Tuesday. He announced that he was going to ET ["early terminate" -ed.] the day after we got back from our site visits.

Anyway, I am doing fine. I've adjusted physically and mentally and I'm anxious to begin my 2 year service. Training ends on Wed. 9-24 and it will be sad to say goodbye to my family because they took such great care of me. We swear in on Friday 9-26 at the US Embassy which I understand is a multi-million dollar fortress built with US tax dollars during the 12 year civil war. On Monday 9-29, we all travel to our respective sites. My site is in the northeast corner of the country near the Honduran border. It's in the department of La Unión which is the hottest, driest and rockiest of the 14 depts. I am going to live in a small village called Los Cruces. Many of the families have relatives who are working in the states and who send money to them to make their lives easier. But it also makes them dependent, lazy, and glued to their television sets which is usually the first thing that they buy with the mney (even though their children are malnourished and have bellies full of amoebas, parasites and other neat stuff). None of the families have latrines or running water. Instead they use the "great outdoors" and get their water from springs and wells which are most certainly contaminated with feces and pesticide runoff. I have my work cut out for me. I am replacing another PCV who is leaving at the end of October so I'll be able to learn from her for a month. I'll be working with tree nurseries, composting, soil conservation, environmental education and integrative pest management.

All in all, Peace Corps is what I expected it to be like (so far), although not a day goes by that I don't see something that I've never seen before. I'll keep you updated and look forward to hearing from you. My new address is:

PCV Gregorio Maddox
Anamorós, La Unión
El Salvador, C.A.

(The El Salvadorans can't pronounce my name very well so I go by Gregorio)

Stay tuned for further developments! We will be tracking Craig through his service, as he sends us back missives from El Salvador.

Andy Jacobson
Last modified: Mon Oct 20 14:06:18 1997

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: Personal Web Page

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



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.