Peace Corps Colombia: What We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving Season

We have different experiences, different backgrounds, and we’re at different stages of service, but we have one thing in common. We all have something that we’re thankful for. Here’s what Peace Corps Colombia staff and volunteers are thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

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James Everett, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful that things never turn out how I expect . . . and Cheeze-Its.

Shanna Crumley, CII-5 PCV: Mangos.

Angela Donna, CII-5 PCV: My fan.

Erick Uribe, CII-6 PCV: Luz.

Izzy Garcia, CII-5 PCV: I thank God for my family, education and opportunities.

Christopher Gordon, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful for all of the opportunities that the Peace Corps has provided me: the new places I’ve been able to see, and especially for everyone I’ve met.  I’m thankful for everyone who has been patient with my Spanish, and has supported me over the last year while I’ve been here.

Jessi Atha, CII-6 PCV: I am thankful for my host sister and airplanes.

Aara Johnson, CII-5 PCV: I am thankful for my school, IED IDDI Nueva Granada. They have become my Colombian community through their concern for and interest in me. They joked about my marrying a Colombian, and commiserated in my failed love. They also offered kind words and embraces when I had to leave because of my father’s death. I will miss this school the most when I complete my service.

Alex Torres, CII-6 PCV:

Lord, I give you thanks for my service

I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in my calling.

My bible tells me to love other people,

To care for those who need it.

Everyone’s got their journey and I’m here living mine out.

Martha Keays, Former PC Colombia Country Director: I am thankful for having the privilege of serving Peace Corps Colombia and working with such high caliber volunteers and staff.  Thank you all!

Oscar Mejia, PC Colombia Training Manager: All the possibilities life offers me for traveling in country and internationally. The capacity life gave to me to enjoy the variety of cultural life. My openness that allows me to share with all the diversity life brings.

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Kathleen Rodriguez, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful that despite being far from home, I’ve got my people—Americans and Colombians included—who are my second family. My corner restaurant also gives me the option of coconut rice with my corriente, and that’s pretty cool too.

Rick Grijalva, CII-5 PCV: It was swift and certain: I was going to be moving schools and homes halfway through my service. Despite my initially unfavorable stance on this dramatic shift, today I am very happy to have had the mandatory site change. It has revitalized my love of leading classes and restored my faith in my ability to do so. For these reasons, among others, I am thankful for the change.

Barbara Alvarado, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful for all the wonderful and sweet people that I’ve met on this journey.

MC Rosher, CII-6 PCV: My panadería.

 Sarah Hinton, RPCV: Bollo de mazorca.

 Megan Birnbaum, CII-5 PCV: I am thankful for friends, family, a roof over my head, and clean sheets.

Caitlin Webb, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful for an experience that challenges me daily and forces me out of my comfort zone; for crazy opportunities and insane scenarios that I would never have encountered without coming here. Most importantly, I am thankful for all the wonderful people that I’ve met: my fellow volunteers, (who I feel closer to than people I’ve known for many years) and the wonderful Colombians who have opened their arms to a stranger and made me feel like family. My cat, Molly, would like to add that she’s thankful for being treated like a granddaughter by my host family and neighbor, and for the wonderful soup dinners she receives from them.

Sammy Quezada, CII-6 PCV: I am thankful for an accepting host family that has graciously taken me in, along with a supportive parent who has decided to make the trek out here this Thanksgiving season.

Stacy Johnson, CII-6 PCV:  I am thankful to my father for being a cheapskate during my childhood and not turning on the air conditioning until after the Fourth of July, even if it was one-hundred degrees outside; it may have been the best training I’ve received for this Colombian climate.  I am thankful for Quimma, LaShondra, Lindsey, Felix, Yannic, Lucas, and La’Dajah for teaching me how to dance (outside of our traditional dance classes); their shared talents have proven to be one of my best integration tools on the coast.   I am thankful to my ex-boyfriend for being a narcissistic jerk, therefore prompting me to submit my Peace Corps application and to take that leap of faith.  I am thankful for growing up in a family where we accept everyone, regardless of what they look like: the clothes they wear, the job they have, or where they live.  Not everyone who looks like bad news is, in fact, bad news.  I am thankful for the distance between me and my family; the space between us has brought my sister and I closer than ever before.   I am thankful for my mom, who has always supported me and my wild adventures; I would never have made it this far without her.  Before coming to Colombia, I thought that I had a random collection of experiences, good and bad, that didn’t really amount to anything beneficial.   I am thankful for Peace Corps Colombia.  I am thankful for all of the new friends I have made and that my new life here has taught me so much about myself, my past, and what I am truly capable of– which is a lot more than what I had originally believed true.

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Jordan LeAnn Lidstrom, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful to have an experience that continually teaches me about love and humility. I’m thankful to learn not only from others and about others, but about myself as well. I’m thankful for all the friends and family near and far who support me through my failures and successes.

Katrina Castner, CII-6 PCV: I am thankful for the people that keep me propped up when I feel like I can’t stand anymore.

Lindsay Copelly-Lerma, CII-6 PCV: Friendship.

Alex Lerma, CII-6 PCV: I’m thankful to have the opportunity to live in a foreign country, meet new people, and everlasting friendships.

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