Pizza from scratch… en el campo boliviano

Name: Eric Raymond
U-M Affiliation: Alumni

Where do you work?

San Diego, California

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2004-2006

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Bolivia

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

As a Microenterprise Development Volunteer, I developed and completed sustainable initiatives to prevent and eradicate child labor in silver and tin mines. Additionally, I established alternative career course, mentor program, and youth group to serve adolescent mining population.

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

My Mom was fighting breast cancer back in the States and made the strongest impression on my during that time.

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

My partner organization required that I travel to a small town in an impoverished area to conduct workshops with the local youth. Llallagua was not very memorable, a high mountain desert village, but the people were highly receptive to my work, especially the students. The work ended up being one of my most encouraging work experiences while in Bolivia.

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

I remain committed to a career in sustainable international development and have great friends I keep in touch with throughout Bolivia and the U.S.

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

U-M broadened my horizons by encouraging the open-minded, positive approach vital to success in the Peace Corps. I spent a semester studying in Quito, Ecuador before graduating in Ann Arbor, and that program offered the development of language fluency and culture sensitivity to start me off.

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

Go for it. The two year commitment in not as long as you think.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

The ability to make the best of any given situation by applying a positive dedicated attitude.

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

There are too many to list!

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