Rushville Republican

Features

February 14, 2007

Thoughts from the Third World

(Editor’s note: Brian Dunn, Rushville Consolidated High School graduate, is serving with the Peace Corps in Uganda in eastern Africa.)

I awake to the sound of a rooster crowing a full 10 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. It always seems to happen that way. I lie in bed for the next few minutes planning out my day, too lazy to arise before the alarm actually goes off. Finally, I slither out from under the sheets to silence the buzzing cell phone alarm, throw on a pair of running shorts and lace up my running shoes for my morning jog. It’s 6:30 and the sun has not yet perched over the mountainous horizon. The air is cool but comfortable in the light morning fog and the run gets my blood flowing and helps me to clear my mind. The day starts out as any day back in Indiana would except that here I run past mud huts, children walking barefoot to school and men pushing bicycles up the hilly roads loaded with large bunches of unripe banana plantain. So begins my day as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Uganda in eastern Africa.

I had never given any thought to the Peace Corps while growing up. Living in Africa was about the farthest thing from my mind after college. If it hadn’t been for my high school choir teacher Mr. Doyle taking us to Mexico in high school or my friend Roger Williams giving me a nudge towards the Peace Corps after a frustrated discussion about career paths, I never would have. So, after a nine-month application process, quitting my job, selling my house and selling/giving away whatever wouldn’t fit in Dad’s and Mom’s storage shed here I am.

I arrived in Uganda in March 2007 with 36 other future PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) from around the U.S., ages 22 to 63, set to work in the fields of health and education. We all shared a common interest of wanting to help others less fortunate and to see and experience another part of the world in ways that only a PCV can. After a 10-week training period in which we were living with host families and were taught basic phrases in the local language (Uganda has 55 of them), technical training for what we’ll be doing at our site, and lessons in local culture, we packed our belongings and left for our future sites where we would work with a local organization and live for the next two years. Each volunteer is placed with an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) with which to work with and provide direction, supervision and support.

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