Jim and I met long after his two year venture with Peace Corps and I still like hearing about his experiences for those years. Last night was another one of those opportunities when he was the speaker for Blackstone Rotary Club.

He opens the meeting speaking an incomprehensible string of sounds.. and using mime. Repeating over and over, we start getting what he was talking about. And then he explains, that’s how he learned Marshallese. Jim joined Peace Corps right out of college going to San Jose for an introduction… or as he put, they worked very hard at trying to talk those interested into backing out…. The interviewers were former Peace Corps Volunteers and knew the hardships first hand. He was told he was going to be all alone and isolated without other Americans for two years. That didn’t daunt him. He then when to Hawaii for 10 weeks of training. Hawaii??? That a tough training site, right??

Jim then went to an island in Central Pacific with only 200 people and lived with a family that spoke no English. He job assignment was to teach English as a second language (TESL) . He continued to tell the Rotarians about foods eaten (fish, coconut, and lots of commodities – canned bologna and Spam), fishing adventures, how he lived on the island, and live among the Marshallese.

Peace Corps is celebrating 50 years this year – thank you, Jim, for sharing your Peace Corps experience with me again and with my fellow Rotarians!