Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update and Review

I am sitting in mu hostel in a rainy and muggy Bangkok, one days after effectively ending my Peace Corps service. And to the answer of  your question, no I don't feel any different. As I have stated before, my service was everything I thought it would be and more, and looking back on it I have very few regrets. I am ready for my next challenge.

My next change, however comes late this evening as I head to the Bangkok airport to fly to Duabi to meet my parents before then traveling to Tanzania to visit Will and the country for about 3 weeks.

Once I get back to America I am sure I will be very tired, confused, happy weird and busy! It should be an interesting couple of months. I have not been home sine January 2009! Upon arrival I will immediately be traveling to visit the graduate programs I have been accepted to, so that I can make a final decision before. If I am coming to a city near you, I will definitely be looking you up!

Stay tuned for Africa entries and photos.

In the meantime, here are some pics of my last few days in Thailand:

Office goodbye party/good luck ceremony

Final project at site: my youth group trains a youth group from another province on how to start a group and create project and such

PCV mentors: Sarah B. (122) and Sarah B. (121)

Dinner with neighbors and family

Lunch with the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand

Out to dinner with Pi Mod and here family

Community goodbye party at school

With my amazing family at my airport send-off

Officially finished with 2 years of Peace Corps in Thailand!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Peace Corps!

That's right, Peace Corps is celebrating it's 50th anniversary today! I feel honored and privileged to be part of the legacy started by JFK on March 1, 1961. Serving in the Peace Corps has been a dream of mine since high school, when I learned of it goals from one of my favorite teachers who had served.

Click here to read President Obama's remarks on the anniversary:

For 50 facts about Peace Corps, check out the following as put together by Yahoo! News:

* Kennedy's idea originated in 1960 when he challenged students at the University of Michigan to engage in a spirit of peaceful volunteerism in foreign countries. He was still a senator at the time and campaigning for president.
* The Peach Corps was designed to help underdeveloped nations succeed in education, business and agriculture in a modern world.
* Kennedy's brother in-law R. Sargent Shriver was the first director.
* In 1961, volunteers arrived in five countries; the first two were Ghana and Tanzania.
* Within the first six years, 55 countries were served with more than 14,500 volunteers.
* Volunteers help communities by teaching children, developing sustainable business practices and teaching health awareness.
* March 2011 will be designated "National Peace Corps Month" in honor of its 50th anniversary.
* Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut is a notable participant in the Peace Corps, serving from 1966-68 in the Dominican Republic.
* Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix, served in Swaziland from 1983-85.
* Chris Matthews of MSNBC also went to Swaziland in 1968.
* Author Paul Theroux was in Malawi from 1963-65.
* The Peace Corps has had 17 directors, usually serving two to four years.
* Carolyn Payton was the first female and African American director of the Peace Corps, serving just over a year starting in 1977.
* Loret Miller Ruppe was the longest-serving director under President Reagan from 1981 until 1989.
* The Crisis Corps consists of volunteers designed to help in times of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
* More than 200,000 Americans have been in the Peace Corps since its inception.
* 139 countries have been served by Peace Corps volunteers.
* The Peace Corps is funded by Congress.
* The only country in the Middle East currently being served is the Kingdom of Jordan with 38 volunteers.
* Peace Corps volunteers currently receive $7,425 after 27 months of service.
* Low-interest or deferred student loans are also a benefit of serving.
* Certain institutes of higher education will also grant college credit for completion of service.
* Volunteers can teach subjects such as English, math and science.
* Community development programs include creating libraries, adult literacy and health education.
* Health volunteers teach communities about safe drinking water and malnutrition.
* Agricultural initiatives include improving crop yields and environmental conservation.
* As many as 40 percent of today's volunteers work with food security issues such as nutrition and agriculture.
* The Peace Corps currently serves 77 countries.
* The average age of volunteers today is 28.
* Minimum requirements to volunteer: 18 and older and American citizenship.
* 37 percent of volunteers engage in educational activities.
* There are currently 8,655 volunteers and trainees in the Peace Corps.
* 90 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree from college.
* The Peace Corps budget for 2010 was $400 million.
* Many Peace Corps directors, including Aaron Williams who currently heads the organization, started as volunteers.
* The Peace Corps began sending volunteers to China in the 1990s.
* The Philippines boasts the most cumulative volunteers to date at more than 8,500.
* Despite its location as the United States' southern neighbor, Mexico has only been a Peace Corps recipient since 2004 with just 160 volunteers.
* The Peace Corps encourages applicants to apply nine to 12 months in advance of when they will be available.
* Peace Corps volunteers assisted with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath in New Orleans.
* Americorps, the domestic version of the Peace Corps, was started by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
* 37 percent of current volunteers serve in Africa.
* Only 7 percent of current volunteers are in Asia.
* 60 percent of Peace Corps participants are female.
* 93 percent of current Peace Corps members are single.
* More than 130 colleges offer credit for service.
* It takes about nine months from the initial application to commence overseas service.
* Legally married couples may serve together in the Peace Corps.
* Participants earn two vacation days for every month they work.
* The University of Colorado currently has 117 alumni serving overseas, the most of any institution in the United States.