Peace Corps volunteers begin tour of duty
September 21, 2007

Peace Corps volunteers begin tour of duty

After seven weeks of intensive training, thirteen persons from the United States of America have begun to serve their country and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the name of peace and development.{{more}}

Last Thursday, these Peace Corps volunteers took the oath to serve, and were advised by the Permanent Secretary (ag) in the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development and Gender Affairs, Rosita Snagg, to select their activities with care and participate as much as they can in their community.

“You will be expected to share in activities of the residents. You will have to adapt to new situations and realize that there is only a dry season and a wet season,” Snagg highlighted.

She also took the opportunity to inform the volunteers that for the next two years, they will experience a lot and learn how to do many things in Vincentian style. She also urged the volunteers not to compare their country with ours, but simply learn from their new experience of ‘island life’, and cherish each new day.

Also addressing the group was the Programming and Training Officer of Peace Corps/ Eastern Caribbean Helen Petrozzola, who also notified the students that this journey that they chose would be a challenge, but would also redefine their notion of success.

“You are embarking on a journey which can take you through leap years of learning in a span of two years, if you are willing,” Helen said.

Giving a recount of the past two years spent in this country, former Peace Corps volunteer Mary Szacik, who was stationed in Sandy Bay, told the gathering that while she is looking forward to being reunited with her biological family in New York, she has established a new family here and has learnt a number of things during her time here.

“I’ve learnt that shoving someone aside in a van, and sitting across their lap to shout out the window at a friend passing by is totally acceptable, but not shouting out to them if you saw them is unheard of,” she highlighted.

“I have learnt over the past two years that while the work that we do is important, it’s the relationship that we establish in the process that impacts immeasurably,” she continued. “Make every effort to take the time to genuinely connect with the Vincy family, friends and colleagues, and you may have some wonderful surprises in place for you,” she said as she encouraged the new set of Peace Corps volunteers.

The Peace Corps volunteers will be stationed in rural areas such as Greiggs, Barrouallie, Rillan Hill, Questelles, North Union, Sandy Bay, Chateaubelair, Vermont, Troumaca, Green Hill and Georgetown.(SB)