If You Are Retiring, You Might Join the Peace Corps!
by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico 2009–11)
$16.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle)
Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964—66)
WAKE UP RETIREES, life is just beginning . . . Sally and Rick Botzler did it and so can you!
After a successful career teaching, raising a family, and involvement with their communities . . . they became Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Mexico. Twenty-four months as Volunteers, and three months as Trainees, and their lives will never be the same. Peace Corps does something to you no matter where you serve in over 70 countries — with Vietnam being the newest.
Sally takes us thru the application process, and having kept a log (great idea) she tells us what training was like — the excellent and friendly host family they lived with, and Peace Corps Mexico (PC/M) staff and Volunteers in-country. They learn Spanish, about cross-cultural traits, medical needs, and safety and security. PC/M knows what they are doing, and three months later, Sally and Rick become full time Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs).
As PCVs assigned to the beautiful Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, they move to set up home in Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro. PC/M provides them with sufficient settling-in allowance to live at the level of their host country friends and co-workers. Peace Corps also provides complete medical support. Sally and Rick are ready to begin their 24 months of service. But as we see, this is just the beginning, the Peace Corps experience will live on in what we continue to do with our lives.
The beauty and excitement of Sally’s book is a reflection of her two years and three months of being with Peace Corps with her husband Rick. They brought so many great ideas to share with their host country counterparts, ideas that will survive many years. But more importantly, they brought back to their Northern California home the memories of being in Mexico and making a difference. They established Eco Clubs and Pen Pals in their two communities, bridging the gap in language and culture . . . that’s the Third Goal of Peace Corps. Professionally they are better and stronger individuals. Maintaining personal and professional ties with their Mexican friends and co-workers is what it is all about. We all gain from the experience.
Sally and Rick, your family and friends must be very proud that you made a difference in your life after you retired. When you return to Jalpan de Serra, Mexico . . . it is like a return “home.”
All should consider that being a Peace Corps Volunteer can happen at any age, even and especially after retirement. This books shows how two very professional individuals made the change and what it has meant to them. They would encourage you to consider the challenge. Sally’s If You Are Retiring is a training log of 27 beautiful months in Mexico as Peace Corps Volunteers.
Reviewer Bob Arias was a Rural Community Development PCV in Colombia 1964–66, and an Associate Peace Corps Director in Colombia from 1968 to 1973, and Peace Corps Country Director in Uruguay and Argentina from 1993 to 1995. He returned to work at the Peace Corps from 2001 to 2003 assisting in establishing the agency’s Safety and Security Office after 9/11. Now retired from Los Angeles County where he worked as a Compliance Officer, Bob served as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer (formerly known as Crisis Corps) since 2009, in Paraguay, Colombia, and now for a second time, in Panamá.