Volunteer Spotlight: Andrea Doyle

andreaBy Nina Puga

1. So tell us a little bit about yourself—where are you from, what did you study, what is your life dream, etc?   

I am from a small town right on the Mississippi River in the middle of Minnesota named Sauk Rapids. Way back in the day, it was in the running to be the capital of Minnesota but then this huge tornado came through and destroyed everything, so they ended up choosing St. Paul and nothing interesting has happened in Sauk Rapids since. I went to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. I studied Journalism and Spanish for three years and then the semester before I was supposed to graduate, I freaked out and switched my Journalism major to Elementary Education.As far as life dreams go, I would like to travel. I’m not sure what I want to do as a job, but I’ve always liked to write, so maybe someday I’ll publish my epic Peace Corps adventure.

2. How did you first hear about Peace Corps?

I heard about PC in one of my Elementary Education classes when someone came into advertise it. I was sitting there and something just hit me. I knew I had to join. At the time I was in a pretty serious relationship and I had basically just started my new major so it didn’t really seem like a serious possibility, but the six months later after we broke up, the first thing I did was meet with a PC recruiter and here I am!

3. What has been your favorite thing about living in Colombia?

My favorite thing about living in Colombia is all of the amazing places to travel. I have been all over the coast, to Bogota, Medellin, and Eje Cafetero. I think it’s awesome how different each region is, in regards to climate, food, culture, and activities to do. It feels like I am going to a different country each time, but I’m still in Colombia.

4. What is your favorite thing to do in Barranquilla?

If I had more cash flow, my favorite thing would be building my Tierra Santa wardrobe, but I think my favorite thing is just hanging out with Volunteers and Jorge. 

5. Which Colombian dish have you enjoyed the most?

My favorite Colombian dish is probably this awesome chicken with maracuya salsa that my first host mom made for my parents when they came to visit.

6. Tell us the craziest story you have about your service.

This is tough because I feel like crazy stuff happens everyday. One of the first things that came to my mind was the time that Nina, Linda and I were out on 84 and some guy tried hitting on me by showing off a tattoo of his own name, a picture of his ex-girlfriend, a lock of her hair, and her used band-aid. I guess he thought having all of those things proved that he was sentimental and he thought I would be impressed by that. Shortly after, we saw a rat climb up a tree and decided it was time to go. I asked him for his hat because I thought it looked cool, but instead he gave me the sweaty T-shirt off of his body. I put the T-shirt on the balcony and according to my host mom it blew away in the wind. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.

7. What would be one piece of advice that you would give the upcoming CII-6 group about surviving and thriving in Colombia?

I would tell them that they are going to have some really tough days. They are going doubt themselves and question whether they really want to stay. The most important thing to remember is for every challenge they face, they are gaining life lessons and will be so much stronger in the end. That. And pizza cures all sadness.

8. What is your favorite Colombian song, and why?

My favorite Colombian song is “La Invite a Bailar” because when it comes on you can’t help but dance and sing along…especially to the Juacha-uacha uahhhhh parts

9. Who would win a fight between these animals—a tiger, an elephant, or a hippopotamus—and why?

This is also difficult. I am going to go with a tiger because they are quick, cunning and have claws. Plus, there are no athletes named after elephants or hippos, so tigers must be the real champs.

10. What are three things that you are certain you’ll miss about Colombia once you are gone?

I will miss all of the people I have grown to love here-Colombians and Volunteers. I will miss fresh juice and not having to go to work when it rains. Arroyos are the best!

11. What will be your first meal in the USA when you return?

Well, once I’m out of the airport, I want to get Pepperoni Rolls from Old Chicago or burgers/fries from this hole-in-the wall place in my hometown.

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