PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER

After graduating from the U. of Houston, I was attending law school when I made a move which altered my life forever.  I became one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers from Houston and was sent to The Philippines as a teacher.

If some Filipinos learned to say "ain't" and "yawl" and used double negatives, that would be alright. Although I was friendly and sincere, I might have felt a little smarter than those around me at times.

I had the shop teacher build a small one room building on the school grounds. I slept there a bit or would go there during the day. I needed a curtain over the window for privacy. I had someone sew a seam on a piece of cloth. But there were no curtain rods.

But my American know-how would not fail me. One morning I attempted to push a wimpy piece of string through the narrow curtain seam. The morning turned into lunch time and I was still hard at work.

Some students walked by and one saw what I was trying to do. She pulled out the string and before I could get angry she hooked the string on her hairpin and my ordeal was over. I'm still grateful for that humbling experience 57 years ago. Yes, you can learn something from anyone.

I got to ride in an old World War II jeep as I was being escorted to my village (barrio) in The Philippines. I would live in Bato (stones) It was a nice but hot and dusty day as we approached Unidos where I would be an elementary teacher. #PeaceCorps

There was a large paper banner above the narrow little road: "WELCOME PEACE CORPSE VOLUNTEERS." I was a little concerned. Hopefully difficult first impressions will turn into the beginning of wonderful friendships and memories.

Many Americans cannot spell "corps" but that did not seem important at that time.

One of the most difficult adjustments of being a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines was trying to sleep in the hot weather, without electricity, enclosed in a mosquito net, without a mattress.

Going to sleep, matolog, was not easy. But then you would look forward to waking up in the morning. That joy did not last long. My fellow Volunteer Bennett was playing his guitar, and harmonica around the area.

After a few months, strange sounds started bouncing off our Peace Corps house. It was a very uncomfortable way to wake up. Yodeling had come to Bato. Thanks, Bennett.

One of my memorable days was getting to ride a carabao when I was a #PeaceCorps Volunteer in 1962 in Bato Plaridel, The Philippines.







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