We send a lot of care packages to deployed troops…..over 5000 since December of 2005, but most people are unaware of the fact that we support the Peace Corps as well. Though our primary purpose will always be the non-political support of deployed troops, we do recognize and honor the sacrifices of Peace Corps volunteers. We do this to a lesser extent than we support troops because it is not our primary mission, the postage is much more expensive, and the foreign mail systems in developing countries are unreliable (I’m being generous here) All being said however, it is a great lesson for the young people that lead and participate in Operation Hometown Gratitude. For instance, did you know that there are almost 2 billion people in the world with no access to basic electricity? Did you know that many of those people are in Africa? Did you know that AIDS/HIV levels have reached 30% in some areas of Africa? These are some of the lessons we have learned since supporting the Peace Corps in Zambia. Imagine leaving your cushy existence here in the US and residing in an area where there are virtually no roads, no running water, minimal transportation, and no electricity. Sanitation is a hole in the ground, and if you want to cook a nice meal you will have to start a fire, pick some vegetables, and kill an animal if you want meat. Remember, there’s no refrigeration, so kill it and cook it quickly. You might get lucky and get cell phone coverage, but that’s about it. These are the austere conditions in which PCV’s live.
How did this evolve through OHG?
One of our soldiers, JM graduate Adam Finseth thanked us for our support to his unit and asked if we would support his sister Amber, who was a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Zambia.
Amber Finseth, a JM grad, was our original contact in Zambia. She is back in town, but we remain connected to her village via Aysa Gray, her replacement. We have and are sending the village English text books (Zambia’s official language is English) that have been surplussed by our school district, along with other school supplies. We have even designed a generator for the village and clinic. The village uses one 12 volt car battery for their modest needs, but once every two weeks someone must find a way into town, 35km away, to have it recharged! Our generator is a design adapted off the internet, with help from many individuals and businesses. We use a stationary bicycle to run an automotive alternator, which charges 12V batteries. We are excited about this project. Someday soon a kid will come home from school and be asked “What did you do today, dear?” The reply will be a jolt: “Oh, we powered up a small village in Zambia and ushered them into the 21st century……” I will post more on our Zambia project in the future if you are interested, but not from this location. Click on the “Working with the Peace Corps” button on the side bar of this website.