by Sheena Bell
“Life is calling. How far will you go?”
During the Feb. 24 Peace Corps Globe Talk in the new Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, the motto was displayed everywhere: on literature, computer screens and even the walls.
With great enthusiasm, USF Peace Corps Representative Katie Roders introduced her two friends, who sat beside her. Both were returned Peace Corps volunteers with very different stories.
As Roders navigated through a slideshow, Tom Paul, a 70-year-old former volunteer, described his experience in Ecuador as part of the second contingent in Peace Corps history. He and 34 fellow volunteers had to build their own huts. They had no lights, no phones and no latrines.
“I pooped in holes that I dug,” Paul said.
Despite the challenges, Paul said his job building orphanages was “very risky, but very rewarding,” calling it an experience he’ll never regret.
Joshua Girard, 26, recently finished his service in the Peace Corps, doing agricultural work in Zambia. He is currently working on his thesis for the Master’s International program.
Unlike Paul, Girard did not have to build his own house or poop in holes; he made sure to mention that at the beginning. Rather, he lived very comfortably with a local family with whom he stays in contact.
I asked both speakers, “If you had the opportunity to volunteer for the Peace Corps again, would you?”
The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”