Are you a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer?

Consider Sharing Your Experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer!

We are in the process of creating an online museum of the Peace Corps experience as we work toward our goal of a physical museum, a museum online, and a set of traveling materials that can be used for an exhibit in conjunction with events in your local community.

If you served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, please consider writing down your experiences so they can be shared through the museum with Americans, with your host communities, and with people the world over.  If you have special pictures, videos, or an object that is part of that experience, pull them aside to illustrate your story.

Here are some aspects of volunteer life that may trigger memories and help you write your own stories: 

Volunteering Leaving Home
Training Culture differences
Food Health
Housing Daily life
Service Travel
Fun What they taught me
What I learned Returning home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email your questions about documenting your story for submission to the Museum to: collections@peacecorpsmuseum.org

Do you have an artifact from your
Peace Corps service?

Click here for more details about submitting a description of your artifact or object!

Artifact and Story Example

The Coal Pot
Debbie Manget (St. Lucia, 1978-1979)
A coal pot used for cooking in the Choiseul Quarter, St. Lucia (Caribbean)

In 1978, the Peace Corps sent me to St. Lucia to teach Home Economics to middle school girls.  I felt confident in my ability to teach 3 of the 4 subjects; textiles (sewing), interior design and child care were familiar to me.  The fourth subject, cooking, was going to be a challenge, however.  I was not familiar with St. Lucian fruits, vegetable and protein sources, most of which were prepared with a coal pot, an implement I had never seen before, let alone used.  Soon after I arrived, the smells of charcoal cooking were evident everywhere I went.  Coal pots seemed mysterious to me, much more ancient than the charcoal grills I used in my back yard.
My concerns about teaching culinary arts were relieved by my students, who taught me the intricacies of preparing meals with a coal pot.  Though they are used throughout the Caribbean, the Choiseul Quarter of St. Lucia is considered the original home of this cooking style.  Women shape the pots from clay along riverbanks, leaving holes in the lower section. Charcoal is placed in the top bowl of the coal pot and lit from under the holes. Once coals are red hot a cooking pot is placed directly onto the coals.  Ashes fall through the holes to cool in the lower lip.  More coal is added as needed. The deep, rich flavors of the ingredients mixed with earthy, smoky overtones guarantee a delicious meal at any time of day.
I was glad I turned the tables and allowed my students to become my teachers.  This improved their self-confidence and created a special bond between people of very different backgrounds. Thanks to my students, I have become an accomplished cook using the coal pot method.