Friday, July 15, 2011

"Why" On The Fourth of July

It’s the most-asked question a Peace Corps Volunteer hears: why did you join the Peace Corps? There are as many reasons as there are volunteers serving today, if not more. Using the Fourth of July festivities as a backdrop, I decided to ask volunteers at their most relaxed and carefree their reasons for choosing to serve in the Peace Corps. The answers may surprise you. Or make you want to fill out an application.

Featured Volunteers: (From Left to Right)Mark Bosso, Blaine Byers, Lindsey Green, Nick Greene , Josh Johnson, Scott Jorgensen, Xander Kent, Kelsey Lyle, Jeremy Mak, Etienne Marcoux, Kane Mason, Kevin Pasquaretta, Beth Payne, Shawn Reed, John Rozmus, Leah Spare, S, and Seth Williams

Special Appearance by Pamela White, U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia

Music Credit: We Are All Made of Stars by Moby


  1. Very cool. :) Great video!

  2. Nimbara,Marta,

    That was a great video in many ways to me. I'm a RPCV from Senegal and lived in a Mandinka village called Daoudi for 3 years. It is 35km north of Koussanar, 60km northwest of Tambacounda.

    I went to Banjul in July of 1979 for 2 weeks for a Mandinka language course. I remember spending the 4th of July at the place where you filmed this video. I remember the pool and the ocean right next to the residence. I believe it is the ambassador's residence. That I don't quite recall. I ye n mira le.

    These interviews also remind me of a conversation that we had with our training director at a bar in Thies about painted birds. An animal behaviorist was studying the effect of painting birds and releasing back to the flock. They were not accepted by the other birds of the flock and were expelled to the outskirts of the flock. He(our training director) believed that we get painted by the culture that we live in. Living in a village for 2 to 3 years will do that. To me living in my village was like living on a different planet compared to what life and culture was like back in America. This is kind of hard to explain without beer. lol

    Thank you for your video and your service to the people of The Gambia.

    Allah ma ila silo dialla. May Allah make your road sweet. Sungkaro be kering.


  3. Hi Kim! Thank you for your feedback. The house is indeed the residence of the U.S. ambassador. The current ambassador is Pamela White, and she's fantastic. The entire embassy staff is great, and I think I speak for all volunteers when I say that we enjoy working with them very much when it comes to our projects.

    My Mandinka is not as good as others (Commoi Mandinka domindin domindin!), but I do my best to practice and communicate with the people around me. I am amazed by the volunteers who speak Mandinka, Wolof, and Pulaar as if it were their native tongue!

    As one volunteer said in the video, "Peace Corps is not hard, it's not easy, but it is satisfying." I don't necessarily agree with the "it's not hard" part, but it is a satisfying experience at the end of the day.

    Thanks again!