Book Review: From the Center of the Earth (Stories out of the Peace Corps) edited by Geraldine Kennedy

From the Center of the Earth: Stories Out of the Peace Corps by Geraldine Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This excellent 13 story compendium of a variety of Peace Corps Volunteer stories, tales and activities gives a broad picture of how varied the Peace Corps experience can be. Much depends on where a volunteer serves, what job they are assigned to, and the local people with whom they work. Often the experience is tied into the individual’s growth and maturation as their inventiveness, and ability to stick it out when the going gets tough is tested on a daily basis in situations where thee is no backup or support during the random chaos that attends life in the bush, city, or slums with transport, disease or civil authorities in over 60 developing nations, worldwide. Every volunteer’s stint in Peace Corps is different. My own story and experience in Peace Corps intersects with the 1966 era tale told on page 169 by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, in West Cameroon. I can empathize deeply with that tale, although my experiences there were as vastly different from hers as were the six miles of tropical rainforest that separated our postings. Definitely a book to read for those who would still have that urgent desire to cut the reins and go “out there.” These are the tales born while doing “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”

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