Where do you work?
Research Laboratory in the Medical School, Dept of Pathology
When did you serve in the Peace Corps?
Where did you serve (which country/countries)?
Morocco and Antigua
What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?
Marine Fisheries Advisor
Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?
Tahar Moustakim, a Moroccan lawyer, who I met on a bus returning to my assigned town. I became very close to his family.
What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?
Eating Sunday meals with Tahar’s family because his mother believed that I was lonely without my family during the Christian Day.
In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?
I am much more understanding of Muslim and Arab cultures. I am more open to any culture in general. We adopted my daughter from Kazakhstan in 2001.
In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?
I completed my year 2 of French through an intensive summer University of Michigan program in Tour, France. Following this, I wanted to experience other cultures more deeply.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?
All the cross cultural training in the world can not match your experience. Be patient and step back from your first judgements. This does not mean give up your ethical standards. This may seem a paradox, but it allows one to live with room for understanding. Judgement is easy to fall into, but if one holds this in some reserve, a whole new relationship and world will open up.
What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?
Almost nothing can touch a Peace Corps experience in regard to understanding a people and through this, ourselves. Few organizations teach the endogenous language, which I found to be an essential bridge, even though we could converse in the colonial language, French.