What Do You Call a Peace Corps Volunteer Who Never Returned?
By Kevin Quigley on Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Having dinner at Bangkok’s Londoner Pub on Sukhumvit Soi 33 with more than 25 former Peace Corps makes me realize that the term “RPCV” does not apply to most of the individuals in this room. Many of them are NRPCVs (Never Returned Peace Corps Volunteers).
Thanks to the help of Bill Knowlton, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a group of individuals connected to Peace Corps who reside or were passing through Bangkok. This group ranged over every decade, every Peace Corps continent, and many of its fields of service.
This remarkable and diverse group included Harvey and Rosemary, who were in the pioneering group in Thailand, both of whom married Thais. It also included Jim, a former country director in Nepal, who just helped Peace Corps return to Indonesia; Steve who was recruiting for a new university in Abu Dhabi and served in Honduras; Larry who served in Ghana; Whitney and Selena who served in Panama; and Alice and Lisa who had finished their service here in Thailand in the past few years, but weren’t finished with Thailand. Carolyn Nickels, President of Friends of Thailand, brought a special guest: Khun Alisa, who has worked as Peace Corps staff here for the past 36 years, and with whom volunteers have been in love with for all these years.
This Bangkok group did not “bring the world home” because they truly had made the world their home.
Over dinner, we had a lively conversation about the Peace Corps’s first fifty years, our individual yet connected Peace Corps experiences, and the opportunities to revitalize the agency during its upcoming golden anniversary.
The Bangkok group readily committed to doing an event on March 1st as part of the Peace Corps global birthday party that NPCA is organizing. Given the breadth of experience that I learned about during dinner, I can’t wait to see the photos and videos that comes from whatever group turns up in Bangkok on March 1, 2011.
NPCA’s President Kevin Quigley (Thailand 76-79) is in Thailand with his family, mixing a little business with pleasure.