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Profile picture Peter Wilcox
Peace Corps
I guess this is the best place to put this. I was in the Peace Corps in Gabon, Africa from 1965 though 1967, doing rural school construction and community development. Got to go native, live in a mud hut in the jungle, learn masonry, carpentry and auto mechanics, etc. Probably the most fun I've ever had in my lifetime.

Anybody else a RPCV? Any experiences to share?

Here's a pic of me (same one as in the bio) after one side of a log bridge collapsed as I was driving across it, trying to figure out how to get the truck back up on the road. Image
Profile picture Rich Martinez Re: Peace Corps
Hi Pete
Your PC persona and essence has endured time and space, and is currently being manifested within my daughter.
I know PC volunteers share common characteristics: helpfulness, selflessness, and non-materialism-- all packed into a pacifist body. What has perplexed me is that, after dogged research, I have not found any of these traits in the Martinez genealogy.
Thanks to the Farmer Flashbacks, I’ve discovered the possible origin of my daughter’s PC genes:
Sometime during the summer of ‘59 when we played for Ace Surplus, our genetic markers must have commingled. Maybe genetic code exchange occurred thru our shared contact with bats and balls?
Your genetic markers must have dominated mine and transformed or transmutated the M letter of my last name into your W, and the Wilcox traits ruled for a short time.
When my daughter informed me of her interest in humanity, I suggested Americore. This option would keep her stateside, with relatively more safety and more opportunities. (my experience with the draft has kept me forever suspicious of ’The Man’)
She said the PC like her Environmental Sciences degree, and her talents would be best utilized in either Africa or Asia.
She was vetted for 12 months, and after signing, she was assigned in May of this year to Armenia. She will be there for 27 months. Her primary responsibility is teaching English to Armenians, whose language contains no vowels. Her theme song will probably be Sonny/Cher’s “and the beat goes on----”
As I’m writing, another thought just entered. With Sara-Elaine’s history of kindness and her continued interest in the environment and human rights, it may be possible it was her DNA that overrode mine. Could I have been the unnamed watermelon boyfriend?--or is it only in my dreams?
All right, I know--if there is any probability of a Sara- Elaine influence, it could only have transpired by me cutting myself on the barbed wire fence they used as a knife.
Profile picture Sarah Chandler Re: Peace Corps

charlesrmartinez wrote:

"Hi Pete Your PC persona and essence has endured time and space, and is currently being manifested within my daughter. I know PC volunteers share common characteristics: helpfulness, selflessness, and non-materialism-- all packed into a pac"
In your dreams, Rich....not a bad dream though...perhaps at the reunion we could find some purloined watermelon and a barbed wire fence? Congrats to your daughter! I do have colleagues in Armenia (although one of them is currently studying for an MA Stateside). I can assure you it is an immensely civilized place, and she will have a grand time. If she wants contacts, she can contact me. I don't share Pete's PC experiences, but I did spend 6 years more or less wandering around Africa, being far less useful than Pete was, I'm sure. Highlights included hitchhiking the Hoggar track (who would have though I'd ever do that?!) if you want to look on a map, it runs from Oran to Gardaiah, El Golea, Insalah, Tamanrasset in Algieria, continues to Agadez and Zinder in Niger, and ends in Kano, Nigeria; visiting with gorillas in the wilds of Haute Zaire (then), climbing Nyragongo (live volcano near Goma...pre eruption). The lowlights I won't recount. Mainly the experiences set me up to be a human rights educator and activist for the rest of my days! As a dentist, you certainly stand up for the right to health.... Perhaps that's where your daughter's predisposition comes from? Please send her a stranger's good wishes!
Sarah
Profile picture Judy Trautwein Re: Peace Corps

Lillooetsarah wrote:

"In your dreams, Rich....not a bad dream though...perhaps at the reunion we could find some purloined watermelon and a barbed wire fence? Congrats to your daughter! I do have colleagues in Armenia (although one of them is currently studying for an M"
Sarah,
Hitchhiking the Hoggar track sounds wonderful. You mentioned Kano, Nigeria. I just finished reading HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Several pages are devoted to Kano, Nigeria in the '60s. Judy
Profile picture Sarah Chandler Re: Peace Corps

JudithTrautwein wrote:

"Sarah, Hitchhiking the Hoggar track sounds wonderful. You mentioned Kano, Nigeria. I just finished reading HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Several pages are devoted to Kano, Nigeria in the '60s. Judy"
Hi Judy, I too read Half a Yellow Sun, last year. Enjoyed it immensely. It took me back to Biafra, which I hitched through en route to Cameroon. It was post-war, and reconstruction had really not begun. Our transport, a low-loader (flatdeck lorry) was comandeered by the military, who were moving their bases and were comandeering every vehicle that moved.
I remember broken bridges, potholed roads, bullet-riddled buildings and a lot of poverty, but a people whose spirit was unvanquished. We were dumped unceremoniously on the side of the road but before they left us, the commandeering military stopped a Catholic priest and ordered him to take us to his mission and look after us until transportation was available again. That took about 4 days. There's a lot of wonderful literature from Africa....are you a fan?