Why the Peace Corps?

 
When President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, I was thirteen years old. I watched television, wide-eyed, as the first Volunteers were shown arriving in Ghana. One of these days, I thought, I’m going to do that.

One of these days.... But when?

Peace Corps recruiters came to campus at the State University of  New York, College at neonta during my senior year. I longingly fondled the brochures they brought with them. My sights, though, were on moving to San Francisco. The best I could do at that time, as editor of the yearbook, was to have their picture taken for inclusion in the 1969 Oneontan.

I went into teaching as soon as I graduated from college. My possibility of serving in the Peace Corps was relegated to that “to do” list I kept in the back of my mind, sub-titled “someday.”

I have enjoyed teaching in San Francisco’s public schools for thirty-four years. On the one hand, I could continue for another five years or so. I am at a wonderful school with amazing hard-working colleagues, supportive parents, and enthusiastic students.

Then again, there is that inner voice that I have learned not to deny. It is telling me that this is the time to make my move. “Someday” has arrived.

My application has been working its way through the Peace Corps for almost a year. On November 21, 2002, the invitation arrived. After three days of orientation in the U. S., starting on June 28, 2003, I leave for Mauritania.

Pre-service training will take place from July 1 to September 16. Then I am off to Nouakchott (pronounced NWOCK-shot), the capital of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.