My husband and I, both RPCVs

Name: Jena Bauman Adams
U-M Affiliation: Alumni

Where do you work?

UMass Medical School Center for Health Policy and Research

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

1988-91

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Paraguay

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

Rural Health volunteer for two years and Health volunteer coordinator for one year

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

My neighbor Fredysvinda… watching her as a wife and mother and holding her family together was inspiring. Funny to think that I'm much older now than she was then.

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

Being stranded with a friend in a restaurant one block from the national palace during the (successful) coup that overthrew Alfredo Stroessner in 1989 -- and sneaking our way on foot for two miles through a "blacked-out" Asuncion to my hotel.

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

PC affected my life and career in every way -- I work in public health, I've used Spanish consistently in my career, my PC girlfriends are still my best friends and I married another RPCV (Cameroon) who I met at a RPCV event.

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

UM was a diverse place full of students and faculty with a wide range of experience in the world. I was from a small town, but the U-M community gave me confidence to get out in the world myself.

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

The actual experience of Peace Corps is almost never what you expected. If you can go with the flow and keep and open mind, it is bound to be much much more.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

I know I'm a citizen of a world filled with remarkable human beings who are more alike than different.

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

Everyone has a story. Wisdom has more to do with what you are made of and how you live your life than where you've been or how much schooling you've received.

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