Thanking my community of Chã das Caldeiras, Cape Verde at my going away party.

Name: Andrew Bracken
U-M Affiliation: Alumni, Staff

Where do you work?

AgriFUTURO in Chimoio, Mozambique with Peace Corps Response

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2008-2010, 2010-2011

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Cape Verde, Mozambique

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

Cape Verde: Worked at a winery in business development and with composting toilets in water and sanitation. Mozambique: Helping Mozambique realize its agricultural potential to ensure food security.

Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?

My colleague from the composting toilet project, Yves Dublin, served as an excellent mentor and became a great friend.

What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?

Dancing with the Copa Cabana group in the Carnival parade on the island of São Nicolau in 2010.

In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?

I used my Portuguese language skills learned in Cape Verde to get my current job as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Mozambique.

In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?

As a Ross School of Business graduate with a minor in the Program in the Environment, classes frequently touched on international issues. In 2006 I did the GIEU program in Ghana which inspired me to serve in Africa with the Peace Corps. I learned practical skills in the classroom and found the desire to go abroad in the GIEU.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?

You will not always enjoy it, though you often will, and you will never regret it.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

A PCV from Senegal put it well when he said, to paraphrase: "If I hadn't come to Africa I wouldn't have ever believed it. Now I've seen it and I understand."

What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?

If you can go from not speaking a word of a language to doing valuable work in only two years, you can pretty much do anything.

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