Where do you work?
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
When did you serve in the Peace Corps?
Niger 1994-96 and Dem Rep of Congo 1998
What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?
Health Extension Worker
Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?
Habibou Ousseini in Niger. Abbe Alfonse in Congo.
What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?
Getting stuck for just over a week trying to escape the Civil War in DRC in 1998.
In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?
Having witnessed the war and its devastation on the people around me, I became invested in helping refugees and victims of war directly. I attained a Masters in International Public Health in order to better do that. I now serve refugees from around the world who come to Vermont.
In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?
Residential College and its emphasis on foreign languages prepared me to live in Francophone Africa. I majored in Linguistic Anthropology; ALL the amazing professors and classes in Anthropology got me enthused and prepared for Peace Corps. (Even the ones who warned me that they did not like PC!)
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?
Do not make any excuses to NOT go if you want to do it. It is the experience of a lifetime and this is the time in your life when you can do it. Everyone should go--at least once!
What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?
Impossible to explain. No, let me sum up. Self-reliance, self-confidence, richness of life, views of the joys and horrors you never knew you could see, learning new culture and language(s), strength of character, new friends, new reality, new possibilities, and the knowledge that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!