Ours is a Peace Corps family, so to speak. My wife and I first met at a gathering of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Atlanta. We had both been back from our respective tours with the Peace Corps--she in Mali, me in Albania--just a few months. We spent the months of our early courtship comparing stories from our service, and competing in terms of who had acquired the most numerous and more interesting forms of dysentery while abroad. She won.
We both put a lot of stock in what the Peace Corps represents, despite the good and bad cliches about the organization.
In yesterday's Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and again today in the local media, there is a story about a young woman from Cumming, Georgia (an Atlanta suburb) named Kate Puzey. Miss Puzey, aged 24, was serving in the Peace Corps in the West African nation of Benin as a teacher. She gave her life this past week in the service of that nation's children, and while showing the best face of the United States abroad. According to news accounts, she was very proud of her service in the Peace Corps, and felt a great deal of warmth toward the people whom she was serving.
Ms. Puzey kept a blog of her experiences in the Peace Corps. It may be found at http://beinginbenin.blogspot.com.
She sounds like she was a pretty terrific young woman, and our family extends its condolences to her family and friends the world over--and it sounds like she had them, the world over.
Visit the Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers Memorial Project: http://www.fpcv.org/
Power Lines by Jason Carter. This book, by Georgia author, former Peace Corps volunteer, and grandson of Georgia author and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, recounts the younger Carter's experience as a Peace Corp volunteer in South Africa. It goes some way at describing why someone might want to take on the challenge, and what stands to be gained by doing so.