Posted by shiite on Thursday, March 3, 2011 Under: peace corps
Only 11 days separate me from my long-held dream of joining the Peace Corps of the United States of America.
I couldn't be and have never been more excited about anything else in my entire life.
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Peace Corps: on March 1st, 1961, the U.S. Peace Corps was established by Executive Order 10924 under President John F. Kennedy.
A lot of moving tributes have been made on this occasion, but this video tribute from the U.S. Embassy in London really stood out to me. The last 1:40 are wonderful (note that YouTube embedded videos do not work via email, so you'll have to visit my site directly to watch):
UCLA also had a tribute to 50 years of Peace Corps. Here is what dozens of RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) had to say about their service abroad:
I have realized that the most important things in life are not those which can be bought and sold, but rather the human relationships that are created. - Amber Rocha, PCV Mauritania
If any students are tentative about their future career choice, I recommend they spend a couple years in the Peace Corps to think things over and allow the PC experience to enrich their lives no matter what career choice they make. - Gene Adams, PCV Belize 1962-1964
The Peace Corps opened my eyes to the world. There is nothing that I cannot do. There is nothing that I cannot surpass because nothing will ever compare to my Peace Corps experience. My Peace Corps friends and I joke about how it takes a village to raise a volunteer because we all grew into ourselves. I am the same person I was before I left to Africa, but now I am aware of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my role as a human being. I am the person I want to be because of the Peace Corps. - Stephanie Aguilar, PCV Burkina Faso
My Peace Corps experience is helping me define the meaning of true volunteer service. I can say with assurance that I will dedicate my life to public service. - PCV Monica Aranda, Honduras
I began my service in August 2010 and already my life has undergone a profound transformation through this experience with the Peace Corps. I have met people who have made an indelible impact on my personal development and have helped me to expand my worldview and my understanding of the human condition. - Camille Aragon, PCV St. Vincent & the Grenadines
I’ve always been proud to have served in the Peace Corps. Teaching in Sokoto was an adventure, a challenge. I learned a little about how others perceive Americans and I’ve always wanted to live up to that perception as much as possible. I’ve loved the memories of hills of sand turning to fields of corn almost over night, sweat-drenched days turning to cool nights, sleepy, crusty-eyed kids during Ramadan, dusty jeep-trips to visit friends and all the smells of the local market; surviving huge faux pas, spitting cobras, Star Beer, pepper chicken and ex-Pats at The Club. - John Blaine, PCV Nigeria 1962-1965
I was challenged both physically and mentally in ways I never imagined and had the satisfaction of rising to these challenges. I learned to work within the culture of a small town in Morocco without losing my own identify. I learned to respect Islam in Morocco and how it is not just their religion, but their culture, their way of life. I fell in love with the country and its people. - Lynn Dines, PCV Morocco 2008-2010
Joining the Peace Corps was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met remarkable people (both Africans and my fellow volunteers) who taught me what it means to be teacher, a student, and a friend. - DeDe Dunevant, PCV Guinea
My time in the Peace Corps was a challenging and exciting two years, and I learned more than I could have ever imagined. I worked with students who were incredibly eager to learn and were very hospitable hosts. - Devon Van Dyne, PCV China
I am very proud of my Peace Corps service because I enjoyed teaching the school boys and the other Tanzanian teachers. I came home to teach for 39 years in the LAUSD where I related to my classes a true picture of East African life. - George Edgington, PCV Tanzania
As a current Peace Corps Volunteer, my experience is impacting my life in a way that I cannot yet put into words. Peace Corps is such a unique opportunity to explore one’s interests, and I am taking full advantage of that as I gain experience in a variety of development sectors. The relationships I have developed with Togolese friends and counterparts are one of the richest aspects of my experience, and will stay with me forever. My understanding of “development” has changed drastically through the insights I’ve gained during countless conversations with Togolese counterparts and the projects I’ve witnessed and participated in. - Megan Farmer, PCV Togo
The Peace Corp. is truly personally revealing because you must rely on your inner core to succeed in very trying circumstances. If you really want to know who you are, leave who you think you are behind. The Peace Corp. allows you to get away from it all and get in touch with yourself. - Carmen Gonzalez, PCV Micronesia
The Peace Corps is unlike any other life experience: you’re put in a situation where you confront your limits. You mature rather quickly, and you realize that no matter how much you give of yourself, you’re getting back a whole lot more. - Larry Grobel, PCV Ghana
Peace Corps has not only made me stronger as a individual, but it has enlightened me to the perspectives and lifestyles that pervade much of the world. I have come to understand the complex psychological differences of peoples minds that have been raised in an entirely different environment. I have learned a new way to live. I have learned that happiness is not found in possessions and money, but rather in strength of the heart and mind. I feel smarter, stronger, happier and more fulfilled due to my experience in Peace Corps so far. - Johnny Hunter, PCV Micronesia
Peace Corps offered me the opportunity of a lifetime, and what I learned throughout my service has followed me into the classroom. I have such a deeper appreciation of what is public health since serving in Peace Corps. I can empathize with the struggles faced by underserved populations and can initiate change to accompany Third World health intervention. People involved in international development must be culturally sensitive and acknowledge their own presence as a resource for improvement. Peace Corps has not only taught me the strength needed for developing world intervention, but also the heart invested in community development. My Peace Corps service will forever be a part of me, and I will constantly apply lessons learned from the Guatemalan mountains to my everyday life here in the States. Thank you Peace Corps, for the giving me the opportunity to have “the toughest job I’ll ever love.” - Ashley Kissinger, PCV Guatemala 2008-2010
Almost 50 years later, my two years in the Peace Corps remain indelibly etched in my being. - Richard Kranzdorf, PCV Nigeria
The Peace Corps gave me more than I ever could have given to it, or to my community. It taught me to relax, and to enjoy the company of others. It showed me the generosity of the human spirit, showed me the fruits of improvisation, and the value of patience. It also taught me failure – it also taught me that failure is not the end, but a new beginning, perhaps for something better. - Maryam Toossi, PCV Dominican Republic
Joining the Peace Corps was the best decision for me after college. The experience opened my eyes to a new culture. It changed my perspective from that of an American who had traveled to that of a global citizen. It taught me the skills to face new challenges in a creative way, always looking first at the context and the resources available at hand. It’s amazing how much can be done with so few resources. It is an experience I will look back on for the rest of my life, and I will never forget the people from my community who made my experience so meaningful. - Martha Whitmore, PCV Peru 2007-2009
I have often said that I still consider Peace Corps the best thing I have done. It made me a citizen of the world,and it also made me a better American. I made life long friendships, gained a wealth of first hand knowledge about everything from how coffee is grown to why the Serengeti Plain is so important.
I learned much about myself that made me a better person. It was a time of great learning that serves me well today.- Jess Womack, PCV Kenya
Peace Corps service has been the most profound experience of my life. I went to Nigeria a neophyte and returned with a deep sense of caring for other people in the world. - Martin Wong, PCV Nigeria 1962-1964
My Peace Corps experience has, thus far, been one of the most rewarding, challenging and educational periods of my life. It is a truly unique opportunity that has taught me so many valuable skills while simultaneously given me the privilege to help improve the lives of others. I am thankful every day that I joined the Peace Corps. - Emily McIntosh, PCV Mozambique
Happy 50th birthday Peace Corps!
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