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Evacuation

November 1, 2020

Peace Corps Connect to the Future: Views from around the world and Volunteers at home

Eight town halls and a global ideas summit to reimagine the Peace Corps for a changed world. By Glenn Blumhorst What are the big ideas for the Peace Corps, National Peace Corps Association, and the Peace Corps community going forward? To answer that, in July we convened eight town halls and a global ideas summit that brought together thousands of members of the Peace Corps community. The reason: In March 2020, all Volunteers were evacuated from around the world because of COVID-19. They came home to a country in economic turmoil and with a worsening pandemic, and soon wracked by...

August 31, 2020

We were evacuated from North Macedonia. So we set out to do work that reflects Peace Corps values at home.

The founder of RPCVs Serving at Home chronicles her work as a Volunteer — and launching a network to support communities across the United States. By Mia Richardson — as told to Cynthia Arata   I had wanted to serve in the Peace Corps since high school. I was really interested in the Cold War, and while learning about that time in history, I learned about the creation of the Peace Corps during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Peace Corps fascinated me. Originally I thought about going straight to graduate school after graduating from college, but I decided to put that...

August 20, 2020

Coming Home: Tonga

Tonga | Natalie Somerville Home: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania   Photo: Mangrove forest, Tonga. Photo courtesy Natalie Somerville.   Mālō ‘etau lava. Ko Navi au. Na’a ku nofo i Tonga. On the beautiful island of ‘Eua, where I was serving as a Volunteer, I’m known as Navi. When we were evacuated, here’s what I left behind: coconut trees, fresh papaya every day, a group of women who had just committed to practicing healthy lifestyles, my best friend and dog (Navi Kiti), and an adoring, patient partner, with deep love, whom I can’t wait to reunite with. I left behind a vegetable garden that...

August 20, 2020

Coming Home: Fiji

Fiji | Cynthia Arata Home: Napa, California   Photo: Moala Island — one of the most remote islands that is part of Fiji. Photo by Cynthia Arata   If you type “Moala Island” into Google, a number of misleading images will populate your search. Make no mistake: there is no tourism on Moala Island. Despite mislabeled photos online, there is no resort, no hotel, no Airbnb. In fact, there is no paved road. There is no grocery store, market, restaurant or bar. There is no bank, gas station or electricity. It is difficult to illustrate just how remote Moala is, and...

August 20, 2020

Coming Home: Peru

Peru | Aidan Fife Home: Lancaster, Pennsylvania When Aidan Fife arrived in the Ancash region in December 2019, he was the third youth development Volunteer to serve as part of a six-year project, stretching over the course of three cohorts. “Kind of a new thing for Peace Corps,” he says. Though Peace Corps is not new in Peru. The program was established in 1962 and ran until 1974, when it was suspended because of political instability. Volunteers have been back since 2002. Fife’s aunt served in Paraguay in the 1980s. “She’s my number one inspiration,” he says. She lauded the...

August 19, 2020

Coming Home: Panama

Panama | Danielle Shulkin Home: Sharon, Massachusetts Photo: Mangrove reforestation, Los Santos, Panamá — the community where Volunteer Bailey Rosen served and took time to high-five with one of the students taking part. Photo by Eli Wittum   Köbö kuin dere! Ti kä Mechi Sulia Kwatabü amne ti sribire Cuerpo de Paz ben. I served in the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, in a mountainous part of an indigenous reservation. The language that I introduced myself in is Ngäbere, which has about 200,000 speakers throughout Panama and Costa Rica. I was a TELLS volunteer — Teaching English, Leadership, and Life Skills, helping teachers improve English...

August 19, 2020

Coming Home: Guatemala

Guatemala | Anna Zauner Home: Skillman, New Jersey Photo: Dressed in traditional Mayan traje, as is custom for Sunday  Mass. Anna Zauner, left, with friend Jackelyn Saquic.   We received the evacuation notice at 10 p.m., just hours after the Guatemalan government announced that all school would be canceled for 21 days. Forty-six minutes later I received the follow-up email with my departure date: Tuesday. A full day to say goodbyes and pack. I started Monday by telling my host family and what friends I could find the news. I ran into some of my students along the trail to school...

August 19, 2020

Coming Home: Ecuador

Ecuador | Becky Wandell Home: Portland, Oregon By 10:30 Sunday night, March 15, I had settled into bed and checked my phone. I scrolled past messages exploding: Start packing. We’re going home. Not me — I’m extending for a third year! Besides, we’re on a “standfast,” schools are closed. I’m safe with my host family here in Ibarra. The Ecuadorian government is already taking precautions! My phone rang — my supervisor. Two checked bags. Be ready to leave by midday. Upstairs I heard the TV in Margarita and Jose’s room so I knew they were still awake. I banged on...

August 19, 2020

Coming Home: Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic | Benjamin Rietmann Home: Condon, Oregon Photo: Build your dreams: Ben with two students who competed in the Peace Corps "Construye tus Sueños" competition, where they presented business plans trying to win seed money to start businesses. The young woman wants to make and sell yogurt, and the young man wants to start a hardware store.   I’m from a small town in eastern Oregon. I was in the community economic development sector, working with an association of dairy farmers and teaching entrepreneurship to high school-age students. We held the Construye tus Sueños competition — Build Your Dreams — where they presented...

August 18, 2020

A Thousand Words: More Photos from Peace Corps Volunteers Evacuated from Around the World

Photos from Nepal, Timor Lesté, Guinea, and Jamaica Along with the dozens of stories we’ve shared from Peace Corps Volunteers evacuated from around the world, here are snapshots from more Volunteers. They capture the friendships and communities left behind. And they capture the heartbreak of leaving.   Nepal | Eddie De La Fuente   When Peace Corps announced the global evacuation, we were actually en route to visit our permanent sites a month early. I, and many of the other agriculture volunteers, never made it to our sites given the distance; I had just finished two all-day bus trips and was still another day-and-a-half away...