Friday, June 20, 2008

Peace Corps Update

It has been a few months since I last posted. I have been busy and just got out of the habit of making the rounds of my favorite blogs on a daily basis.

I am still in the process of joining the Peace Corps. A couple of weeks ago the NY regional office of the Peace Corps nominated me for an assignment in sub-Saharan Africa that would begin in February 2009. I would be teaching math to secondary school students. There are about 50 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Peace Corps serves in about one-half of them.

I just completed all the medical evaluations with my personal doctors. Medical is the last area to be evaluated. The next step is for the Peace Corps office in Washington, DC to either invite me or say "no thanks". I'm told that they could wait until the last minute to make that decision.

I'm hoping, first, that they approve me and, second, that they tell me soon what country I will be serving in so that I will have a few months to begin learning the language of the people that I will serve. I also hope that it is a language that is taught by Rosetta Stone or Berlitz. I've checked each of them; they teach a couple of the African languages but not all of them.

I also plan to prepare for the teaching assignment by volunteering at my local high school as a tutor or teacher's aide in the math department. I haven't been in a math class in more than 30 years. I'm sure that most of it will come back easily but not all of it, and tutoring will be more helpful to me than just studying with books. The course(s) I will be teaching range from General Math to Calculus.

The waiting is going to be painful. I've never been good at waiting to do something after I decide to do it. Once the decision is made I like to start yesterday. However, the Peace Corps, like the government, doesn't work like that - not even close. So, when something else happens - anything else - I'll post another update.


karen said...

I'm so amazed and impressed. . .

Joe said...

I can understand why you are amazed but don't be impressed until I have served successfully.

It's not what I say but what I do that counts.

karen said...

See? There you go again, all humble. Still impressed. You've planned and thought this out.

Joe said...

There YOU go again.

Was your last sentence a question or a statement?

I've thought a lot about why I want to serve and, to the extent that I can, what it will be like. It goes almost without saying that I want to make a bigger contribution to mankind than I am now. I have complained a lot about social injustice but what have I done about it? I think everybody who can afford to do so should give their time to address one or more of the many needs in this world. But, this will not be all sacrifice on my part; this will also be an adventure. I could take a two week tour of a 3rd world country as a tourist and I would get an impression of the people, their culture and their living conditions. But I won't really know them and understand them unless I live with them as one of them.

I know that I can handle this assignment emotionally. I'm less sure that my body will hold up to the change but I am only teaching in a school rather than building one.

karen said...

I understand. Having a chronic illness myself (that I daily deny) I didn't think that I could physically hold up walking and carrying, etc., all day with special needs kids.
Turned out I was one of the healthier teachers, and I thrived physically.
Just dealing with one foot right now, but the rest of me is okay.
It surprised me.

Joe said...

Mind over matter. The more your heart is involved the harder you can and will work.

YOUR heart is always invested in what you do.

Missy said...

Joe, how exciting! I'm praying for language barriers to fall, open hearts and minds, and a lot of patience with the red tape. I look forward to hearing more.

Joe said...

Thanks Missy, I appreciate your support! I will post updates as progress is made.

Kansas Bob said...

Hey Joe- you are truly inspirational.. whether you go or not.. and I hope you do.. I admire you heart and spirit of adventure!

karen said...

What's the update, Joe? Thinking about you.

Joe said...

Hi Karen,

I've been traveling recently and so distracted by politics that I haven't found time to blog.

I have yet to complete and submit all of my medical/dental/vision exam results. My last dental appointment is tomorrow. I "think" that is the last item on the checklist but I will have to check it before I send it in. Otherwise, nothing to report until the DC headquarters reviews all the results.

The presidential politics are stressing me out. An honest politician is a rare thing. There ought to be a law, like truth in advertising, that punishes anybody for corrupting the democratic process. There is far too much at stake in the world to allow people alter the outcome by telling or publishing lies. The publisher should also be held accountable for not ensuring that the author can show proof of the claims. The author of the book "Obama Nation", who was a co-author of the book of lies about John Kerry's military service without which Kerry would probably have defeated Bush and saved thousands of lives, does not claim to have proof of the ascertions, he only claims the right to publish the rumors so that others can decide for themselves. The man has been a guest speaker at white supremacy organization meetings. His anti-semetic tongue slipped when he accused John Kerry of being a secret Jew. Human waste like this is allowed to corrupt our democracy and violate the Constitution. Mary Matalin not only published the book, she also praises it. And McCain, who thinks we should have used what is left of our military to drive the Russians out of Georgia, does not deny the book's clams, he only states that he had nothing to do with it. On the positive side, that is more than GW Bush did when the swift boat lies were published.

America and Americans are at a critical point, will be continue to allow our freedom to be compromised and the Constitution violated until we are powerless to do so? We will know on November 5th whether we continue subjugate ourselves or turn back to recover our democracy.

Let's hope we all consider our choices like our very lives depend on it and vote!