Andean Adventures: An Unexpected Search for Meaning, Purpose and Discovery Across Three Countries
Allan “Alonzo” J. Wind (Ecuador 1980–82)
$14.99 (paperback), $4.19 (Kindle), $17.46 ( Audible)
Reviewed byD.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77)
Allan Wind knew he wanted to join the Peace Corps from pretty early in his life. But he expected that he would serve two years abroad and then return to the US and continue his career. He became a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) and served for two years in Ecuador but after that he did not return home. He stayed on in Ecuador, working in development, later working in Bolivia and Peru as well.
This is a memoir of the early years of Wind’s lifelong career in development. He begins his journey after college in 1980. From the beginning he is an agitator, always trying to go beyond his job description to do more. Taking on additional tasks as the opportunities present themselves.
His approach is very popular with his Ecuadorean sponsors and counterparts, but not so much with Peace Corps administrators. Thus after two years the locals want him to stay on, but Peace Corps/Ecuador refuses. So Wind gets a job with an NGO (Non–Governmental Organization) to be able to continue his work. Thus begins an odyssey of moving from one position to another as opportunities emerge. He ends up spending a career in international development, beginning with twelve years in the Andean countries of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, the years described in this memoir.
Like many others Mr. Wind has struggled to find inspiration and motivation for public life during the Trump administration and especially the COVID–19 pandemic. He states:
I offer this book to recall better days. I want to remind us when national service in Peace Corps, charities and nongovernmental organizations abroad offered a chance to help. When service abroad offered a chance to find meaning and purpose.
I encourage you to read Mr. Wind’s memoir and hope you are inspired by it as I was.
D.W. Jefferson was a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in El Salvador (1974-76) and Costa Rica (1976-77). A blog about his Peace Corps years is at: http://dwjefferson.blogspot.com He is currently retired from a career in computer software engineering.