Orrin Luc posted an article“It would be wonderful if the world didn’t need a Peace Corps.” see more
Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica (1976–78) and Belize (2011–13) | Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Jamaica (2016–17) and Belize (2017)
As told to Ellery Pollard
Photo: Students in a Jamaican school where Volunteer Miguelina Cuevas-Post served. Courtesy Miguelina Cuevas-Post
I come from a family that is multiethnic and multicultural, so an appreciation of different cultures was ingrained in me. My husband, Kenneth Post, and I both served two-year terms in Jamaica in the ’70s — that’s how we met. We got married there, and our oldest daughter, Tina, was born while we were serving. Ken and I also served in Belize 2011–13. My youngest daughter, Rachel, decided to serve as a Response Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia 2015–16. I returned to both Jamaica and Belize as a Response Volunteer in 2016–17. And my husband’s aunt did Peace Corps in Africa at age 65. So obviously, Peace Corps has had a great presence in my life!
My initial host mother in Jamaica was just around the block from Hope Road, where Bob Marley lived. We would walk by his house frequently. We were in Jamaica when he was shot in December 1976. He survived, but that was a tense and harrowing time.
During my original service, if we needed to communicate with a Peace Corps office for any reason, we would go into Port Maria and send a telegram. There was one public telephone and it wasn’t working half the time. Today, technology has made the world a lot smaller, and because of those advances, countries’ needs have changed. Retirement wasn’t meant for me, so after working for years as a school administrator, having the chance to return to Jamaica as a Response Volunteer 40 years after my original service was a great opportunity.
The city of Kingston, which was just a little bigger than a village, is now exponentially larger. Rural areas have new roads and businesses. There are more high-level education and leadership needs, hence Peace Corps Response.
Artist at work: “Rastas living in the Kingston dump who create the most beautiful art out of recycled aluminum.” Photo by Miguelina Cuevas-Post
I have a specific memory of a group of Rastas living in the Kingston dump who create the most beautiful art out of recycled aluminum. This project began with the help of a returned Volunteer who comes back periodically to provide support. We were there trying to gather information to share with the JN Foundation, the agency with which I worked. We spent a day watching the men work, and at the end, I purchased a piece that I saw made from start to finish.
“We saw this piece created, from the melting of the recycled aluminum, to the pouring of the melted metal (casting), removal once set, and buffing,” writes Miguelina Cuevas-Post. “I purchased the piece for one of my daughters.” Photo by Miguelina Cuevas-Post
Belize’s education sector, which was the sector I originally worked in as a Volunteer a decade ago, had closed when I left. But a few years later, when I returned as a Response Volunteer, it reopened and I was asked to return. Response service is very specific and targeted. Projects have to be completed within the time you are given, and you must produce tangible evidence of impact. We were in the Peace Corps office working seven days a week. We understood that the successful reintroduction of an education sector in the country depended on our results. I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have been able to return to both Jamaica and Belize to reconnect with villages where I lived and see their progress.
Ideally, it would be wonderful if the world didn’t need a Peace Corps, but that’s not the reality.
Ideally, it would be wonderful if the world didn’t need a Peace Corps, but that’s not the reality. I also feel like there’s another Peace Corps life in me. Maybe not Belize or Jamaica, but I hope that before I get too much older, I will be able to serve again.
This is part of a series of stories from Crisis Corps and Peace Corps Response Volunteers and staff who have served in the past 25 years.
Steven Saum posted an articleGlobal evacuation — and friends and communities left behind see more
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 when we got the order to get back to Kathmandu ASAP.
We gathered at the Nepal Peace Corps headquarters and effectively had a close of service conference after only two months in the country, and only about four to five days away from being able to swear in as full Volunteers.
The Nepal Peace Corps staff was very compassionate though all of this; our Country Director and her partner even brought their brand new puppy and American candy to help comfort us.
We are, in my opinion, an extraordinarily cohesive and supportive group of people and I believe that these sentiments — as well as our continued, steady communication and mutual support — is truly exemplified in these photos.
Nepal welcomed us so readily and so fully that we were all absolutely heartbroken when we were told we were going home. I even had the good fortune to sit next to a gentleman on the final flight from Qatar to Nepal that served as an language instructor for Peace Corps back in the ‘70s!
This photo of the gentleman greeting was actually from our first night in Nepal. He was far from the only person that was unabashedly eager to meet us and get to know us — and for us to know them.
Nepal farewell: Training to become Volunteers, Rachel Ramsey, left, and Elyse Paré had to evacuate instead.
Timor Lesté | Andre De Mello
Andre De Mello arrived in Timor-Lesté in late 2019 in the country’s tenth group of Peace Corps volunteers. After training, he settled in with a host family and started teaching. But his two-year commitment was not to be. Read more about his story here.
“This picture was taken after Sunday mass in the Grotto located by the church in Railaco. The person to my left, wearing the white-dotted blue shirt, is my host brother Adi Carvalho. The person to my right is the son of the Chefe de Suco (sort of like a community leader).”
Guinea | Colt Bradley
Home: Mooresville, North Carolina
He served as a Volunteer in Kankan, Guinea, where he taught math and chemistry and served as the head of the Peace Corps Guinea Media Team.
Walk on: Colt Bradley heading home during the dry season in Guinea, West Africa.
Transport for Volunteer Colt Bradley and other visitors to the islands from Conakry.
Jamaica | Kate Rapp
Students at Spring Garden Infant and Primary School, where Volunteer Kate Rapp worked with counterpart Lorraine Clarke.