On June 1, 1997 my parents completed service as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica.

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 9:20 am: Edit Post

On June 1, 1997 my parents completed service as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica

On June 1, 1997 my parents completed service as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica

Janet Getchell
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
About me

This section is about me, what I have done, why I did it, what I do, what I will do...

Me in front of my house in San Carlos Sija with the corn drying around me
The basics

I was born in 1966 in Oregon and raised in Eastern Washington where I did lots of 4-H projects (this will be important later on). I went to Linfield College in Oregon where I got a degree in Radio Communications. I went on to work for several record companies (both metal and new age) and in radio (top 40, old folk stuff, rock, alternative) but I was soon bored.

Why Peace Corps

So at the age of 25 and bored with my job I decided to join the Peace Corps "The Toughest Job you'll ever Love." I wanted adventure and to give my work some meaning.
My life in Peace Corps

The Peace Corps Recruiter thought that I would make an excellent Small Animal Husbandry Volunteer based on all that 4-H experience I had many years ago. It took a 24 page application and one year before I was accepted in July of 1992. In October of 1992 I left for Florida, where I met the rest of my training group and as a group we left for Guatemala. I spent three months in training near Antigua, Guatemala, I received language, technical, history and culture training. Right before Christmas of 1992 I found out I had been given the site of San Carlos Sija at 9,000 feet in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. I spent one year there before moving to Olintepeque (only 20 km from my old site) to be next to my biggest project. My project was working at a Zoo in a Wildlife Management Program. In March of 1995 I returned to the United States.

Mom and Dad Peace Corps Volunteers

Mom and Dad (Roger and Leslie Getchell) served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica

On June 1, 1997 my parents completed service as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica. They were in the environmental education program. Dad was helping set up a community college in Jamaica and my Mom was working with training volunteers and at the Health Department. My Dad is a former high school principal and Mom worked for the Department of Ecology in Washington State as head of solid waste management (recycling, litter control) for Eastern Washington. They had a fantastic time.You can e-mail my parentsrlgetchell@compuserve.com
San Carlos Sija

San Carlos Sija was in a small town about 2000 people and was at about 9000 feet. Evenings were very cold and my outdoor water storage tanks would freeze overnight. The days were pleasant if the sun was out. I had two sites mates. A nutrition volunteer from Wisconsin and a community agriculture extension volunteer from Puerto Rico. My house was very nice. I had electricty (most of the time), no heat, a flush toilet (outside though) and semi warm shower (risked elecrution everytime I showered). I lived 22 km (about 13 miles) from a large city. It took 2 hours by bus to get there since the road was in such bad shape. I worked in 5 villages near my town anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours by foot to get to them. Some were Ladino villages and others were Quiche Mayan. San Carlos Sija was unusual being that it was a Ladino village in the highlands. My friends said this was because Sija was a former penal colony to the Spaniards and their decendants still live in the area. It was a nice town.


Olintepeque, my second home was a very small town near Xela. It is unusual to change towns in Peace Corps but I worked for the Department of Agriculture in Guatemala and they closed their office in San Carlos Sija so I had to move. I had two site mates; a Nutrition Volunteer from LA, and an Appropriate Technology Volunteer from Oregon. The town was Mayan. I had another nice house. The house had bright green, yellow and red walls. Once you got use to the colors it was not too bad. I had a flush toilet, but like the other house, it was outside. I had no hot shower and electricity was a little bit more come and go, mostly go..

My Life Now

Currently I live and work in New York. I do work for the Peace Corps but it won't be forever since there is a 5 year cap on how long one can work for the Peace Corps.

The Future?

I would like to work in international developement after returning to school. I hope to attend Cornell in their International Agricuture and Rural Development Program

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

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



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