By Stanley Campbell
Most of you have heard of the Peace Corps and know I am a big fan. I’d like to invite you to see some pictures compiled by Peace Corps returnees and veterans of foreign peace projects.
You’re invited to a Peace Corps poster exhibition at JustGoods Fair Trade Gallery, 201 Seventh St., Rockford, anytime in February, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., during store hours.
A special reception will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, where you can meet three Peace Corps returnees who’ve taken pictures and have turned them into 15 posters. This special reception with creators of the posters (Madison, Wis., returned Peace Corps volunteers) is free and open to the public.
The Madison, Wis., Peace Corps returnees published these beautiful posters that consist of three sets of five posters each (you may view them at http://rpcvmadison.org/weall.php). JustGoods will offer them individually for a donation of $10 per poster, proceeds to fund local Peace Corps volunteers now overseas. Peace Corps calendars and items from Peace Corps returnees will also be available.
Meet the creators of the posters:
Char Thompson served in Chile from 1969 to 1971 and worked with families building their own homes.
Phyllis Noble served in Nigeria from 1965 to 1967. Phyllis taught English in a girls’ secondary school in the Niger Delta, in what was then known as the Midwest Region of Nigeria. This was during the Biafran War.
Stephanie Motz served in Mongolia from 1996 to 1998 and taught English as a second language in the Mongolian countryside.
The reception and program are free and open to the public, but the sale of the posters is a fund-raiser for projects of current Peace Corps volunteers, including a library project in Rwanda.
One Rockford Peace Corps volunteer is an older woman, retired from Sundstrand, who is working in the Republic of Georgia. The stateline area is home to more than 60 returned volunteers, and has produced five volunteers serving on three continents. And there may be many more out there. By the way, if you know of someone serving, please get in touch with me or drop a message off at JustGoods.
I asked Connie Wenger why, at age 60, she was willing to enlist in the Peace Corps and go off to the Republic of Georgia. Here’s her response: “The Peace Corps was one of those things that I would have loved to do, but didn’t have the nerve as a young woman. Then, life happens, you get married, have a child, work at a career, retire — suddenly (or so it seems) you’re 60! Where did the time go? I don’t regret any of the foolish things I did in my life (and there were many) — they’re done and cannot be taken back, but I don’t want to regret those things I didn’t do.”
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Feb. 8-14, 2012, issue