|By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 8:34 pm: Edit Post|
Alan Boyd was a Peace Corps member from 1964 to 1966. He and his wife, Susanne, worked in an English-language teaching program in Gondar, Ethiopia, a town of about 30,000.
Peace Corps a 'Tremendous Growth'
by Sean Gorman
Whether dealing with the shock of living in a new culture or dodging hot Ethiopian peppers, Alan Boyd, OU's director of international student and faculty services, knows his two-year experience in the Peace Corps changed his life.
A booth set up at the College Gate will show other students how they can experience life abroad by joining the Peace Corps.
During Peace Corps Week, students can get literature and have their questions answered at the College Gate from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
"We had a real successful year last year, but a lot of people don't know we're here," said Rashid Khalfani, campus coordinator for the Center for International Studies.
Last year the Peace Corp accepted more than 40 students of the 300 who applied, he said.
"Only one in seven gets into the Peace Corps. (It's) very competitive," Khalfani said.
But he doesn't want to discourage people from applying. To be competitive, Khalfani said, all students need is a bachelor's degree.
Khalfani worked for the Peace Corps in Tunisia, in north-central Africa, from 1992 to 1994 . He lived in a town of about 30,000.
"I wanted to experience situations firsthand that I couldn't experience here," he said.
Khalfani, who worked in youth and community development, built a school with help of about 50 villagers.
"When the villagers came to me and asked me to build a school ... that's how I knew I had made the transition from a visitor," he said. "Once you've dealt with problems in a developing world, you can deal with anything back here."
The Peace Corps provides training in disciplines ranging from engineering to agriculture. Khalfani, who is working toward a master's degree in international affairs and international development, said the Peace Corps is good experience for those wanting to work abroad.
Boyd was a Peace Corps member from 1964 to 1966. He and his wife, Susanne, worked in an English-language teaching program in Gondar, Ethiopia, a town of about 30,000.
At an exchange professor invited Boyd and Susanne to his house for dinner. Boyd said he ate injera wat, a bread and stew dish. The dish contains a hot pepper indigenous to Ethiopia that gave Alan Boyd one of his first tastes of a different culture.
"And boy it is powerful," Boyd said. "That certainly was a kick to my stomach."
His life-changing experience can be shared by others who want to commit to the Peace Corps.
"What you have to consider is, is that experience important to you, and does it define who you are as a person?" he said. "Living with neighbors with another culture is a tremendously enlightening experience."
The non-Western pace in Ethiopia was as different to him as the hot peppers he tasted in the stew.
Boyd joked that he and Susanne weren't concerned about the results of the 1964 election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. But he does admit reading cover to cover the first Newsweek magazine he could get his hands on.
"You are not so crisis driven with deadlines," Boyd said. "That was a nice life. That was a very nice life."
Pete Benkowski, president of the Athens Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Group, worked in Guinea from 1990 to 1992. He said many of the 40 volunteers want to go back.
"The world functions outside of Athens, the world functions outside of Ohio, the world functions outside of the U.S.," Benkowski said.
|By Aderajew Hailu (184.108.40.206) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 5:26 am: Edit Post|
Mr. Alan Boyd,
My name is Aderajew Hailu I was in High School in the town of Gondar from 1963-1966.
When I was searching in the Internet, I found your name that you were a member of Peace Corps at the same time that I was in High school. May be you could be one of my high school instructors, I would like to find out and also I would like to talk to you and to know you.
Please call my cell at (703) 969-1683 or write me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org