A little bit about me...
I served as an extended volunteer, meaning that I served a third year instead of the traditional two year and three month service. During that time, I got married to my community counterpart and embraced many parts of the Azerbaijani culture. It is my hope to provide you a sense of understanding of life as a Peace Corps volunteer, life in Azerbaijan, and a bit about Azerbaijani culture through my experiences. Please feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you'd like to hear more about.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
There should be something there for almost everybody. It is all 100% free to use and share. Here is the specific page of the Peace Corps Archive:
If you, or anyone you know, has some old material to scan or already have in digital form, and want to add to the archive, please don't hesitate to contact him by email.
Friday, February 15, 2013
|Austin Goble '09, Ruth Tollefson '09, Raechelle Baghirov 05, listen while Sallie Strueby '11, speaks during an Alumni panel discussion on service opportunities at PLU on Thursday, March 22, 2012. (Photo by John Froschauer)|
Volunteer service is about taking what you're learning in the classroom and making it bigger, according to four recent PLU graduates.
The grads, Sallie Strueby '11, Austin Goble '09, Ruth Tollefson '09, and Raechelle Baghirov '05, shared their experiences in a panel discussion on paid service opportunities on Thursday, March 22nd.
"The phrase 'a life of service' was thrown around a lot," Baghirov said of her time at PLU. "It made you look at what you were learning and how it could be taken to a higher level. I may not have thought of it as 'this is my wild hope component' but it was."
Baghirov studied abroad in London during J-term her last year at PLU and knew she wanted to spend more time abroad. She applied for the Peace Corps after graduation and spent three and a half years volunteering in Azerbaijan.
"Every volunteer service is different and it is what you make of it," Baghirov said. "Meaningful service not only changed the life of those I worked with, but it changed my own life as well. You get more than you give."
For some, like Baghirov, volunteering was a way to fulfill two passions, serving others and traveling. For others though, like Goble, who volunteered with Lutheran Volunteer Corps and Americorps, volunteering was a way to transition from college life to the "real world."
"I was excited about the opportunity to slowly move itno something else," Goble said.
Goble did two years of service. He spent his first year working with Lutheran Volunteer Corps affiliate Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership in Omaha. His second year was with Peace Community Center, an Americorp affiliate in Tacoma's hilltop neighborhood. The relationships he formed during these years had a large influence on him.
"I'm the one gaining from their life experience," Goble said. "It's a lot of personal growth, a lot of self examination and getting a better understanding of who I am -- that has shaped me immeasurably."
Though they had different experiences, the other panelists echoed Goble's words.
"It's self-sacrificing but it's so worth it," Strueby said, who is currently volunteering with Americorps at Federal Way Public Schools. "I went into this experience hoping to mentor, inspire, and teach these students and I know I'll leave with it being the other way around."
Volunteering is sometimes seen as a detour on the way to a career, but often it can lead to an better prepare you for your career, according to the panelists.
"It's mind-blowing how much you change," Baghirov said. "It forces you to look at yourself and imagine what you're capable of. I took away this sense that I was self-sufficient. I have the power to change my own life and my own world in everyday decisions."
For Tollefson, her service at Peace Community Center turned into a job. She's now the elementary programs and public relations director for the center. Looking back, she recognizes how her experiences at PLU prepared her.
"When I was a student here I was really really involved in student leadership and I think that is what helped me feel confident enough to go off and do service in a different community," Tollefson said.
Reposted from: http://www.plu.edu/news/2012/04/volunteer-panel/
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Reposted from: http://peacecorps.tumblr.com/
All credit goes to the amazing RPCV that wrote this as clearly as anyone could have said it.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
PIE is open to any American or international high school students interested in foreign exchange. In addition, it is constantly searching for host families and volunteers to help expand the program by acting as the local area representatives in cities, towns, and rural areas throughout the United States.
"As RPCVs we have the advantage of knowing both the stress and benefits that come as a result of living and learning in a foreign country, opening our minds to new cultures, lifestyles, and flavors as well as what it is like to become a member of someone else’s family in the process." 1
For those of you who have never considered the impact of hosting an exchange student, it is never too late to participate! PIE has some of the highest standards for its' students, and for families we expect you to treat students as a member of your own family, provide them with a room (students may share with another of the same gender provided the family member is aged 10-17), and provide three meals a day. Although host families are not paid, students bring their own spending money, and the impact of hosting an exchange student far outweighs any financial compensation.
If you are not interested in being a host family at this time, there are other ways that you can help. Like myself, you can volunteer to be an Area Representative for students in your area. Even if you don't have a lot of time to commit, you can volunteer to be the representative for even just one student. Area Representatives assist host families with the placement process, and act as the primary contact for students placed in your area for the duration of their host stay. "PIE is seeking to break the model of the assumed American lifestyle portrayed to international students by the media, and show participants that there is no “typical” American or family." 1
If you are looking for more information or want to get involved, call 1-888-743-8721 or visit the PIE website at: http://www.pieusa.org
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[c] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him." Acts 17:24-27
If as the Bible says, that all human beings come from one man, and that he created all nations, and that he gives to all mankind life and everything in our lives... then why do do so many Christians in America treat Muslims as if they were not created by the same God that made Christians? Why do Christians feel they have the right to discriminate, judge, put down, harass and ridicule a race of people created by God himself? What makes us so arrogant as a nation to think we are more loved, or better than anyone else that God put on this earth?
This week I've finally gotten back on facebook. I've tried to stay a way for the last two to three months, as every time I got online I would see posts and comments from my fellow Christians about Muslims and Islam. Honestly, it took every ounce of my willpower to just stay off the internet and not fight back. I hate that so many people make assumptions and judgments about millions of people they've never even met before. These human beings who want nothing more than to lead a good life, raise their children to be good people, to live a life dedicated to God (yes the same one that Christians worship, and if you think that is inaccurate maybe you should read Islam for Dummies). These are people that God created too. It hurts me to know that we are teaching the children of America to hate. We are openly and actively discriminating Muslim exchange students, and our own Muslims who live in America. Whatever happened to love thy neighbor? Do we get to conveniently pick and choose what passages of the bible to believe? Do we no longer believe that racism is against God's desires for us? (IF you don't believe that, here is a list of passages in the Bible that tell us God wants us to love each other, to accept each other, and to coexist together: http://www.openbible.info/topics/racism)
Look, I know I'm one person. I know that this blog may no longer even be read by anyone. But it hurts my heart to know that there are people I love who have no problem advocating for hatred against other people that I love, in the name of Christianity. The television show West Wing once used an analogy that the Terrorist Muslim groups are to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity. So why are we still acting like all Muslims are terrorists? Stop blaming it on Christianity and saying it is what the Bible says, because it isn't and presuming to know God's mind and heart is offensive. Presuming that God doesn't want us to love the Muslim brothers and sisters he put on the planet with us is offensive. Just stop it and learn to accept those people that God puts on this planet. No one asks to be born. We don't choose to be born. You can't honestly think that there are different Gods who create babies to burn in hell for being born into the wrong region of the world... really, are we that arrogant? Wake up and try living a life by example instead of trying to spend all your time telling everyone else how to live. If Facebook has become a way for Christians to justify their bullying then I want no part of it. We ask our children to not cyber bully, yet we have no problem using Facebook to publicly proclaim superiority. God shows no partiality. ( Romans 2:11 )
1 John 2:9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
One of the best parts of being a Peace Corps volunteer is sharing with the rest of the world all the things you see and do while in Azerbaijan. Two industrious volunteers, Tim McNaught (Az 7) and Brad Kessler (Az 8) calling themselves the "Baku Dreamers," have produced a video that is set to the tune of Jay-Z and Alicia Key's song Empire State of Mind.... but this one is entitled Baku State of Mind. In 2012, the capital city of Azerbaijan, will host the biggest and most widely televised music contest in Europe, Eurovision. Since Azerbaijan won first place this year, Baku will naturally host the next contest, and Azerbaijan is earning it's place on the map. These two volunteers have made what I feel is one of the best PR pieces I've ever seen for Azerbaijan... showing some of the places that are actually enjoyable for expats, volunteers and foreigners to visit while in the capital. Please watch the video, and if you can, rate it! These volunteers did an amazing job, and my hat is off to the two of them for promoting Peace Corps third goal in one of the most creative ways I've ever seen!