Anchorage's returned Peace Corps Volunteers had a potluck to send off three Alaskans on their coming Peace Corps assignments.
Michael Bardwell is headed for Mongolia at the end of the month. He'll be teaching English there.
Becky Roberts is headed for Mexico. I didn't know there were volunteers in Mexico, but she said the program started
Jay Stariwat isn't sure yet where he is going, probably sub-Saharan Africa or the Caribbean.
The Peace Corps is very different today than when I went to Thailand (and got my first glimpse of Alaska during a 7 hour stopover). We were farther away then - letters took at least a week or two to get home. And the same for the answer to get back. Volunteers today mostly have internet access. But security concerns have put a lot more restrictions on volunteers who nowadays have to get permission to leave their towns and are not allowed to ride on motorcycles at all. But as I wrote not too long ago, Peace Corps volunteers can impact many people they come into contact with in positive ways, and often they are not even aware of their influence.
Michael, Becky, and Jay, it was a great pleasure to meet the three of you tonight and I wish you great adventures, lots of new friends, lots of patience, and good health. I think I mentioned River Town by Peter Hessler to Michael because he's headed to Mongolia, and River Town is a fictionalized account of a PCV in China. A very well done book that conveys his experiences in depth and insight.