Difference between pages "Dale Miller" and "Erik W. Lang"

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(RPCV from Chimbote, Peru)
 
 
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|Volunteer=  Dale Miller
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|Volunteer=  Erik W. Lang
|Country=    Peru
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|Country=    Guatemela
|Years=      1967-1968
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|Years=      1988-1990
 
|Group=      YOUR GROUP NUMBER OR CODE
 
|Group=      YOUR GROUP NUMBER OR CODE
|Site=        Chimbote
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|Site=        Quetzaltenango
|Sector=   Urban Community Development
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|Sector=     Appropriate Technology
 
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I trained in rural Kansas in the fall of 1966 but ended up in a city the P.C. director had called "The armpit of the world." In those days Chimbote produced over half the fishmeal in the world (I was told). It had grown from a small town of a few thousand to 200,000 in a very brief period. Neighborhoods were very organized because only a few years had passed since government troops would forcibly expel settlers who would "invade" a piece of land and create a community. At age 21 I didn't have much of a clue but I was able to help because I had skills like being able to read, use a typewriter, drive a car etc. I helped get a school built and got started on street lighting. Jobs weren't always well defined in those days. My instructions from the regional rep were to go find a place to live and help the people. There was a "golpe del estado" when I was there, but at least outside the capital it seemed to have no effect on day to day life or local bureaucracy.
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Our grouped departed from Miami in November 1987. We spent three months at a training center just outside of Antigua. I lived with a very poor family during training. They cooked on an opened fire and everything tasted like smoke, even the watery oatmeal. We ate beans and tortillas almost all the time. My stomach was unsettled during my whole two years of service, and I drank a bottle of Pepto-Bismol about every week (not really). I survived by trading my smoky tasting food for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
 
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Though I wouldn't have joined if the draft hadn't been hanging over me, I tried to do a good job and believed strongly in the goals of the Peace Corps. It was an unforgettable experience. Two years in another culture is an invaluable experience which more people should have.
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I've remained in contact with a few volunteers from those days and recently got Googled by an old Peruvian friend. We are emailing back and forth now and she filled me in on my other old friends - who's married, has kids, is dead etc. I've never gone back, though I went to Chile a couple of years ago. I keep up my Spanish. In fact, I probably speak even better now. I find that's quite important to me. Some final pontifications - Peruvian food is one of the world's great cuisines. And, Andean music has always been great and became a favorite of mine. I find it humorous that is has become so artsy nowadays - playing in the background at New Age bookstores and saunas etc. Because back in those days it was for Indios and was considered very unsophisticated - for hicks, sort of. And I never would have guessed a pure Indian would become President - especially a Chimbotano. He's here in the Bay Area now, though I haven't met him. He met the PCVs who were just a tad after my time, I think.
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My project was called '''appropriate technology'''.  Mostly I taught people how to be build stoves.  The indigenous population was used to cooking on the floor.  Basically they would put a pot on top of three rocks and use wood they gathered from the nearby forests.  This caused their one room adobe houses to fill up with smoke.  The smoke caused eye and respiratory problems, particularly for the children.  This method also used a lot of wood, which exacerbated the terrible deforestation occurring in the highlands.  The stoves that we built, if used correctly, used less wood.  Even if they were not used correctly, they usually got the smoke out of the house.  I also taught people how to build latrines, mostly pit latrines.  However, we built a few composting toilets.  I did not have an official counterpart, but worked very closely with the brilliant individual named Julio Marin Quijibish.  He spoke Spanish and the Quiche language.  He was paid by a religious based health clinic called Clinica Christiana.  It was a project funded by a church based in Falls Church Virginia.  They did exceptional work.  They had North American doctors that spoke Spanish and Quiche fluently.  I spoke only a few words of Quiche.  We built a few solar ovens and a few fero-cement storage tanks.  However the stoves were the most successful.  I had a little motorcycle and traveled to many rural areas outside of Quetzaltenago.  I think we built close to two hundred stoves while I was there.  And I know that they continued to build after I left. 
  
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Video from my Peace Corps experience: http://wlerik.blip.tv/#161633
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More information about my photographs and art from my friend Harry: http://www.guatemalan-art.com/
  
 
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Revision as of 17:39, 6 March 2008


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Our grouped departed from Miami in November 1987. We spent three months at a training center just outside of Antigua. I lived with a very poor family during training. They cooked on an opened fire and everything tasted like smoke, even the watery oatmeal. We ate beans and tortillas almost all the time. My stomach was unsettled during my whole two years of service, and I drank a bottle of Pepto-Bismol about every week (not really). I survived by trading my smoky tasting food for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My project was called appropriate technology. Mostly I taught people how to be build stoves. The indigenous population was used to cooking on the floor. Basically they would put a pot on top of three rocks and use wood they gathered from the nearby forests. This caused their one room adobe houses to fill up with smoke. The smoke caused eye and respiratory problems, particularly for the children. This method also used a lot of wood, which exacerbated the terrible deforestation occurring in the highlands. The stoves that we built, if used correctly, used less wood. Even if they were not used correctly, they usually got the smoke out of the house. I also taught people how to build latrines, mostly pit latrines. However, we built a few composting toilets. I did not have an official counterpart, but worked very closely with the brilliant individual named Julio Marin Quijibish. He spoke Spanish and the Quiche language. He was paid by a religious based health clinic called Clinica Christiana. It was a project funded by a church based in Falls Church Virginia. They did exceptional work. They had North American doctors that spoke Spanish and Quiche fluently. I spoke only a few words of Quiche. We built a few solar ovens and a few fero-cement storage tanks. However the stoves were the most successful. I had a little motorcycle and traveled to many rural areas outside of Quetzaltenago. I think we built close to two hundred stoves while I was there. And I know that they continued to build after I left.

Video from my Peace Corps experience: http://wlerik.blip.tv/#161633 More information about my photographs and art from my friend Harry: http://www.guatemalan-art.com/