Archive - May 11, 2010

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The First PCVs To Colombia

The First PCVs To Colombia

Now that Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams has announced PCVs will be returning to Colombia, I thought it would be interesting to recall what one of the original PCVs to Colombia, Ron Schwarz (Colombia 1961-63), remembers about his first days in the Peace Corps. From the day after JFK’s inauguration until June 26, 1961, Sarge was surrounded by staff he recruited. The best and the brightest.  But not on the 26th of June. That day, the Director was surrounded by strangers, Colombia I Trainees. No one knew if they were the best, or the brightest. Sarge was ill at ease, with reason,” Ron remembers. “The selection committee complained of the “paucity of good, fully qualified candidates.” Some were high school graduates; others had completed only two years of college. A dozen or so had not even taken the Peace Corps test. References for were incomplete, few met minimal language qualifications, and our “special skills” fell . . .

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