President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. In the fifty years since, nearly 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries, providing technical assistance, promoting a better understanding of American culture, and bringing the world back to the United States.
In Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers, Angene Wilson and Jack Wilson, who served in Liberia from 1962 to 1964, follow the experiences of Peace Corps volunteers as they make the decision to join, attend training, adjust to the job and living overseas, make friends, and eventually return home to serve in their communities. They also describe how the volunteers made a difference in their host countries and how they became citizens of the world for the rest of their lives.
Among many others, the interviewees include a physics teacher who served in Nigeria in 1961, a nineteen-year-old Mexican American who worked in an agricultural program in Guatemala in the 1970s, a builder of schools and relationships who served in Gabon from 1989 to 1992, and a retired office administrator who taught business in Ukraine from 2000 to 2002. Voices from the Peace Corps emphasizes the value of practical idealism in building meaningful cultural connections that span the globe.
Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers by Angene Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Excellent book! I read this for book club. I would recommend it to anyone. Particularly Peace Corps service recruits, anyone looking to expand their worldview, for ethnographic undertakings, and for self-reflective pursuits in gaining better understanding of personal experiences both locally and abroad.
Really insightful compilation of personal stories. I enjoyed each and every one. Lots of takeaways and many relatable experiences.
Relationship building through what is beginning as visionary to meeting practical needs. Really gets into the thoughts and mindset in anticipation, perception, interactions, re-evaluation and reflection, as well as a look at long-lasting transformation and impact in every which way.
I appreciated the way it was organized from acceptance to deployment, and looking forward to and back at time in service, whether process, daily life, tasks and projects, culture, language acquisition, cuisine, dress, transportation, travel, unforeseen circumstances, celebratory and difficult topics, moral conflict, treasured relationship value, reverse culture shock, host family and friendships.
I liked the in-country service lists, former names of countries served which was an enjoyable walk down memory lane as names of countries and territories have changed, programs, and volunteer lists.
Beautiful capture of experiences, a lot of glean from. One I’ll be reading again.
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