Peace Corps Videos

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Adventure Continues

It has been 18 months since I left Tonga and I doubt there has been a single day when I haven’t thought about my 27 months in Peace Corps and all of the wonderful people I met.

When I left Tonga, I wrote “Steve’s Adventure Ends Today.”   I could not have been more wrong.  Returning to the United States I now realize that the adventure never ends.  Peace Corps is a part of me.   Since returning, I’ve been able to meet up with more than a dozen of my former Tonga volunteers and I’ve been in contact with many more.   I’m also still in contact with some of my Tongan friends.  I even occasionally get a question from some of my former clients and I’m of course happy to still help.

tonga_big-01 I’ve even collaborated on a travel guide about Tonga with three of my former volunteers, Kate Ashelon, Jason Schneider and Shawn Quast.

That book is published by Other Places Publishing, a company founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and is now available in bookstores and online.

But the real surprise since returning to the USA has been to meet so many other returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCV’s).   And I’ve learned that no matter where they have served and when they served, we have a lot of similar stories and shared experiences.  It’s also refreshing to see how many of these returned volunteers are still active in helping others.

I now work for Peace Corps as the South Florida based recruiter.   I spend most of my time talking with people who are thinking about applying to Peace Corps.  It gives me a chance to help continue the 50 year legacy of Peace Corps, but also allows me to talk about my own experiences in Tonga.

It’s also inspired me to compile all of my own experiences into a book.   Many of the entries in the book are taken from the blog I kept during my service, but I’ve also included some private journal entries that were never published on this site.

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In putting together the book, it was fascinating for me to read many of the early entries about my frustration with the application process.  As a recruiter, I now have a little more insight into that process and I know that some of the assumptions I made when I was an applicant were not always correct.   However, I hope that is makes me a better recruiter because I do remember what it is like to hear nothing for such a long period of time.

I also like to tell people that I have “a one country perspective.”   As I have learned since returning, that while there are many similarities in all the Peace Corps experiences worldwide, they are also all different.  These are my stories and my experiences.

The book is available in both printed and electronic form from Amazon.com.

My book is dedicated to Peace Corps volunteers, past, present and future and 100% of any profit from the book will be donated to support the work of current and returned volunteers.

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