RPCVs in Orlando Connect During Brunch in Florida
By Anne Baker on Friday, January 27th, 2012
RPCVs have amazing stories to share, whether it’s on the impact of their work in service, the traditions and foods they encountered, the people they met or the never-ending toilet or tropical disease stories. So, any time you get a group together – even those who have never before met – the conversation never lags. Such was the case when 15 RPCVs and former staff met with me over brunch in Orlando this month.
Jessica Schwendeman (Niger 2010-2011) had been home exactly one year to the day. As Jessica recalled her evacuation from Niger, Jodi Kiely (Kyrgyzstan 2000-2001) could relate to her similar removal from Kyrgyzstan in 2001. Diana Sacramento (Gabon 1982-1984) and her husband Ilidio talked excitedly about their Third Goal projects when they were part of the Cincinnati Area Returned Volunteers – and that resonated with Sinu Nutakki’s (Guatemala 1992-1994) experience with Minnesota Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Others had group leadership experience as well: George McLaughlin (Malawi 1986-1988 and Lesotho 1989-1990) was one of the founders of the Southeast Michigan RPCVs (SEMI RPCVs) and Kevin Freer (Lesotho 1976-1978) is the current president of Friends of Lesotho.
Each person had a different story as to how they were in Orlando, but none went back as far as that of Roger Wangsness and Janet and Mark Line. Roger, Janet and Mark all went to the same high school in South Dakota in the 1950s. (Yes, you read that right!) Roger joined Peace Corps first, volunteering in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh 1962-1964), then working on staff in Pakistan (1966-1967) and Iran (1967-1971). It was at that last posting that he met Genna, who was a PCV (Iran 1965-1967) and is now his wife. Fast forward thirty years, when Janet and Mark served in Slovakia (1997-1999). Best friends for years, both couples are now reunited in central Florida.
Thank you, Sarah Medvitz (Nigeria 1967-1969), for coordinating our brunch. Everyone had a great time and wants to stay connected! Watch for future updates from Central Florida (and perhaps the stories of the rest of the attendees!).
Have a story to share of your group meeting? Send it along with a photo!