Thursday, December 04, 2008

Still Peace Corps, After All These Years

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from someone associated with a local grammar school; evidently someone had invited some military folks to come to classes to talk to the students about military service, and the person who wrote me the email was looking for someone to come talk about the Peace Corps as an alternative.

So today was the day; I went and sat through two talks by military folks and then did my little talk on the Peace Corps. The military folks had way more show-and-tell sorts of stuff; I have to admit the MRE and medals and stuff were pretty fancy. But it sounded like the one guy got medals for serving for X number of years or working with a different unit or something. I wasn't really sure. The military folks were friendly and nice, and weren't talking up the whole killing thing, but I was happy to offer an alternative.

The kids were fun, grades 1-3 in two separate classrooms, and these kids were quite impressively well-behaved and a pleasure to talk to. I took in a print-out of the Peace Corps' three goals, and had a kid read each aloud and than talked about the goal, what the words mean, and why it's important, and tried to tie it into what they were learning about other countries and the environment, and why their learning is important. Then the kids had questions, lots of questions, some of them totally wonderful and insightful, and others just off the wall. But you know there's something to a kid's question, so even the off the wall ones are important.

Kid's that age are so eager and so engaged, but exhausting, too. I'm glad folks with way more patience than I have are willing to be their teachers!

I've been out of the Peace Corps for a long time, but I still love talking about the experience and the organization, it's goals, and such. And maybe, someday, one of those kids will choose the Peace Corps? Or maybe one will decide to plant a tree?


  1. I almost joined the Peace Corps--applied and was on track to do forestry extension in West Africa--but then they wanted me to redo my whole medical file; by this time it was 8 months since I'd started the application process and I'd found a job and post-collegiate friends and decided not to bother. I've always sort of regretted that (although I'm happy with how my life has gone, so I can't say that I truly regret it! That's the funny thing about regret).

    Anyway, I'm intrigued by the reference to the off-the-wall questions--any worth sharing?

  2. my friend's daughter is supposed to be going to africa with the peace corps in february, to work on aids education and prevention and some basic public health stuff. she should be getting her specific assignment soon.

  3. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Good on you, Bardiac, both for being one of the wonderful volunteers and then continuing to be a volunteer! I thought of you yesterday because a group of my students were doing a presentation about "What Can One Person Do?" and they talked about PC.

    One of our deans recently retired here, and she is seriously chasing a Peace Corps stint -- in Ecuador! She's my hero because she's 60+, and is going after something this exciting and challenging and fantastic.