In 1971 I traveled to Bolivia and Peru in South America where I learned Spanish and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Peruvian Andes until 1975. My Peace Corps site was located at about 14,000 feet above sea level on an ex-hacienda dedicated primarily to sheep ranching and potato cultivation the nearest road was a 1-½ hour mule ride away with the nearest town miles beyond that. Although my assignment was in community development, my biology background from Lewis and Clark College came in handy as my fellow volunteer and myself; a live stock management expert, addressed the many kinds of parasite infestations that were a serious concern for humans and animals. It was exciting to find things I’d only seen on slides alive and well in my intended dinner and drinking water.
Peruvian teachers did not consider the isolated site a very desirable placement, so there was no school for the children. I founded a one-room school and taught nursery school through fifth grade. My students and I pursued the 3 R’s, but also art, drama, mime, story telling, health classes, and field ecology. No “No Child Left Behind” looking over my shoulder! My Peace Corps experience and travels gave me a life long appreciation for other cultures, languages, and a firm belief in the beauty and equality of all people throughout the world.