Maybe this is old news to y’all, but this was featured in the Sunday Paper insert the Parade Magazine. Enjoy!

A Bigger, Better Peace Corps

Aaron Williams is the new director of the Peace Corps, a U.S. government agency that places volunteers around the world. President Obama has said the Peace Corps should double in size.

Who can join the Peace Corps?
There’s no age limit to serve—14% of volunteers are older than 30, and 6% are married. We have an increasing number of retirees. There’s an 85-year-old serving in Morocco. Like college, the application process is competitive: About one-third of those who apply are accepted. Applications have been increasing over the last five years, and they’ve spiked dramatically in the last year. I think that Americans are more engaged in the world today, and we’re able to capitalize on that.

Still, with 7500 volunteers now serving, the Peace Corps is roughly half the size it was in 1966. Why?
Funding has gone up and down. But wehave bipartisan support in Congress, plus the administration’s commitment to expand. We plan to add a couple thousand volunteers over the next two years.

What do volunteers do? How would you like to see their roles change?
Volunteers serve 27 months, including three months of training. They might teach English or help a micro-enterprise secure credit to grow. They could work on environmental projects or health programs to combat HIV/AIDS or malaria. Since many volunteers are tech-savvy, I want to use their expertise. For example, in Nicaragua a man with a background in mechanical engineering is developing a stove that people can use to cook with compost instead of wood. I want to put his blueprints and techniques online so that volunteers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America can see what he’s doing.

— Brooke Lea Foster


Amber wrote up a very enlightening blog post about the cultural ways of Mongolians, and how that is enhancing the H1N1 spreading (that is my interpretation of it). Go read and see.


MSNBC did a series of videos on Mongolia. At about the time that I was there this past summer.

Enjoy! Gaileee

Here are the blogs listed on Amber’s side bar of her sitemates, the M19’s, M18’s & the new M20’s. Read and enjoy!

Arvaiheer Sitemate Blogs:

M19 Blogs

m18 Blogs

M 20 Blogs

Other Mongolian Blogs:

by Louisa Lim of NPR Series on Mongolia.


Because they are nomadic and move three to four times a year, Mongolian herders have developed a remarkable wood and wool house that can be taken apart in just a few hours and can be easily transported on a pack animal.

This called a ger (or “Yurt”), and it is remarkably cool in the summer, warm in winter, windproof and usually beautifully decorated, even though it is made from just a few basic elements.

Those who come from a world of high rise skyscrapers are often amazed that such tradition continues.  Yet the Mongolian nomad – and many city dwellers too – would have it no other way.  Many herders refuse to take up a permanent location, feeling that it would be scarilegious  to be tied to one plot of land.

The ger evolved centuries ago for the nomads who were constantly moving in search of new pastures.

Here are some photos of the gers that Amber and I encountered during my Mongolian Adventure!

First night during our Gobi Trip.  Stayed at a nomad's second Ger house.

First night during our Gobi Trip. Stayed at a nomad's second Ger house.

Rocks and various other items to help hold down the ger during windy times.

Rocks and various other items to help hold down the ger during windy times.

Amber to the left of the hearth inside the ger.  In the back of the photo is the case covering of a hand crank sewing machine.  No electricity.  We slept on the floor in our sleeping bags the first night.

Amber to the left of the hearth inside the ger. In the back of the photo is the case covering of a hand crank sewing machine. No electricity. We slept on the floor in our sleeping bags the first night.

So that was my first night in a ger. Had to find my own restroom. There was a holding pen for the baby animals, quite a ways from the gers, so I’d trot on down past the holding pen for my WC needs. Being on America time, I awoke at 2 a.m. and went out and gazed at the clear sky and all the stars. It was amazing. I’d wake up each morning as the morning light would start to come in (seemed like 4 am every day!).

Here it is!  Amber’s post about our trip to the south….


Wow a month ago in Mongolia, I awoke at 5 am in the morning, at the Ger Camp, just outside where the dinosaurs were found, back in the early 1900’s.    jul09_99_12

It was very windy, the night before and windy early in the morning.  The WC that we had access to, was a low shelter on 3 sides, with two boards on either side of the hole in the ground.  If you didn’t watch it, you’d be blown over to the side, it was that windy.  So this was a low, low squat, in order to stay put!

jul09_99_22 We went on top of this mountainous area, the “Flaming Cliffs”.  Reminded me of Ship Rock in New Mexico, because of the color, and because of the rock structure that was left, after erosin (see that Geology class in college came in handy).  Reminded me of Oklahoma also because of the red soil color.

Amber and I bought some geodes rocks with some lovely crystals inside.  I bought Amber a rose rock, and then a larger geode looking rock.  Kinda cool looking.


Prior to getting to the Yolin Am Glacier area, we stopped along a high area.  Everyone was able to get cell phone reception.  I went outside to find a WC spot (had to make my own….getting very used to this), and I made my own oovm rock site.  Pictured here is the Russian Jeep with everyone in it talking, and me enjoying the fierce winds.  You could lean into them and still be upright.

jul09_99_29 My little rock pile.  Mogi said, she’d add to it with every tourist trip that the brought by, as this was a popular cell phone stop!

jul09_99_30 We ate at a nomad’s home.  She was 60 years old.  Knitted gloves, hatwear, sewed dells…basically during the winter in town made all the things that went into her Tourist Ger right outside the Yolyn Am Glacier Park (in the Gobi Desert, no less).  We ate homemade noodles – watched her make them, with mutton, carrots, potatoes, and onions.  Very yummy.  Drank Milk Tea, yoghurt and a sip of homemade vodka.  Interesting enough, I didn’t get sick on any of the traditional Mongolia dishes.

We went onto the Yolyn Am Glacier, traveled out through the narrow mountains, through the Golden Eagle pass, stayed in a small soum (city) that night


I presented a Prenatal Yoga class in Avraikheer, Mongolia, while I was visiting Amber (who is in the Peace Corps) this summer.

Mongolians have this superstition about being on the floor in public, so they laid a blanket on the floor so that I could demonstrate Cat/Cow flow.


I then proceeded to demonstrate the rest of the poses standing, with the chair, or with the wall. Talk about a change of plans! Good thing I had come up with a alternate flow for doing prenatal yoga in chairs!

Now they want me to prepare a handout, so that they can take it at home and practice at home. Amber and I are working on that information, and it will be translated into Mongolian.

I had a midwife there also, and she was supplementing the things I was trying to say, for poses that you do during labor, with her expertise too. Great presentation!

Mongolian Ger Photos on Flickr

G P-B. Mongolia Adventure

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