Networking with Peace Corps Nominees
By Jonathan Pearson on Sunday, August 29th, 2010
Dexter Nardella of Indianapolis has worked as a chiropractor for the past thirty years. Adam Baker of Carmel is a recent graduate of Indiana University. While at different stages of their individual life paths, they come together at the intersection of service to others and global engagement as nominees to serve in the Peace Corps.
Dexter and Adam met at a recent gathering of the Central Indiana Peace Corps Association (CIPCA) where they met about thirty local residents who were happy to share their Peace Corps experiences and offer some advice.
“People are very approachable and excited to talk about their experience,” said Dexter who is nominated to serve as a business advisor, with a possible departure next May for a yet-to-be-determined post in the Pacific Islands region. “I see a brightness in their eyes as I tell them I’m on the threshold of their experience.” Dexter finds himself at a place where he can do something different and believes his outgoing nature will allow him to connect with others despite cultural differences. “I want to put that to the test and find out that people are basically the same around the world.
Adam says as a recent graduate, he has the ability to uproot his life and serve overseas. He says it is time for him to give back, while at the same time experiencing a different culture and different way of life. While nothing is absolutely confirmed, Adam says he will possibly serve as an environmental educator, with a projected start date of early next year.
As for the Indianapolis RPCVs, Adam says it is very reassuring for him to see that people who were part of Peace Corps for only two years remain connected. “It’s nice to know there’s a community out there to connect with and see your commitment doesn’t end even though your service does.”
Such connections aren’t uncommon. Stephanie Schuck (Benin 99-01) is organizing CIPCA’s next dinner gathering in October. “We’ve had several applicants who have come to our dinners. We have continued to hear from some of them. Some come back from service and stay connected. We get to see them full circle.”
As the two nominees networked, taking in Peace Corps tales and advice about their pending service, they met Laura Espinoza (Dominican Republic 06-08), who helped facilitate Adam’s presence at the CIPCA event. A mutual friend twittered Adam, after Laura had forwarded her details of the gathering. As for her advice, Laura said “Explore the country and everything it has to offer. Get to know the local customs. There is no way like the Peace Corps way.”
Laura’s friend and fellow DR volunteer Michelle Sutton summed up her advice with one word: surrender.
“Don’t be afraid to let things happen, to be wrong and embarrass yourself. Because you will. And that is how you learn.”
We’re into the final days of our August NPCA road trip. Follow this link for details on our remaining stops in Athens Ohio, Morgantown West Virginia and Hagerstown Maryland