February 20, 2002 - Palm Beach Post: Brian Gabele teaches science in Nepal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : The Peace Corps in Nepal: February 20, 2002 - Palm Beach Post: Brian Gabele teaches science in Nepal

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 25, 2002 - 4:56 pm: Edit Post

Brian Gabele teaches science in Nepal

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Feb 20, 2002 - Palm Beach Post

As a chemist, Brian Gabele felt he was spending too much time in the lab and not enough time meeting people.

So three years ago, he quit his job, joined the Peace Corps and traveled halfway across the world to Nepal.

Gabele, 26, returned to the United States in December with a backpack full of pictures, stories and journal entries.

When he came up with the idea of joining the Peace Corps, Gabele, a North Carolina native, was an analytical chemist for research and development with Glaxo Wellcome, a drug company. It was a good position, he admits, but it wasn't for him.

"The job wasn't social enough for me," the Hypoluxo resident said. "I worked in the lab and wrote reports. It was challenging work, but I didn't enjoy it as much."

An avid sportsman, he began working weekends at an outdoor shop. Later he applied to the Peace Corps. The process took several months, but it paid off in 1999 when a math teaching position came open in Nepal.

A short time later, he flew to San Francisco and met with 34 other volunteers. They flew from San Francisco to the Nepalese capital of Katmandu.

Located between India and China, Nepal is about the size of Tennessee. It is known for its enormous elevation changes - from near sea level at some points to more than 29,000 feet in the Himalayas.

Gabele went through three months of training. Living with Nepalese families helped him quickly learn the language and customs, he said.

Then it was off to Dipayal, where he spent a year teaching English and math to fourth- and sixth-graders. He also helped form a parent- teacher association.

By his second year, he said, he was nearly fluent in Nepali, the official language. He moved to a government-run teacher training center, where he worked with local teachers. During his breaks, he visited some of the teachers in their classrooms and surveyed other schools to see whether they might become future Peace Corps sites.

He used some of his down time to hike along mountain trails, which were perilous because of rock slides. He also ran into the occasional traffic jam caused by herds of goats.

Looking back, he said the experience was life-changing.

"It made me realize the importance of relationships with people," he said.

He said his next trip likely will be to South America, probably his grandmother's home country of Brazil. He also also like to return to Nepal.

Gabele is willing to speak at schools or to other groups about his experiences. He can be reached at 582-8551.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; What RPCVs are doing; Science and Technology; COS Nepal



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