Thursday, April 28, 2011
Peace Corps celebrates half-century mark
Moe Paré was there
By Alannah Allbrett
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Peace Corps (PC), established by President John F. Kennedy for the stated purpose of “Promoting peace and friendship around the world.” Many residents of the
were part of that historic effort that has helped form who they are today. Clearwater Valley
Many of your neighbors shared their amazing and colorful stories with the Clearwater Tribune and some return volunteers are displaying pictures and memorabilia of their years of service in the
. In the next few months, the Clearwater Tribune will feature some locals who went to exotic places which taught them more about their own country as well. Clearwater Historical Museum
Moe Paré is one such example. After graduating from high school, Moe Pare volunteered for the draft and served two years in the military. After his military service he completed four years of college and decided he “hadn’t done very much worthwhile” yet. [Most people would disagree with that statement.] He had three job/opportunities: working in
, working for a Switzerland company, or joining the newly formed (1961) Peace Corps. He chose the latter, and California ’s loss was Switzerland ’s gain for that’s where he was assigned for two years. Ecuador
Moe received about three months language and cultural training in
and further training in a boot camp-like setting in Bozeman, MT Puerto Rico. Since the Peace Corps was brand new, its founders thought it necessary that applicants undergo rigorous physical testing. Moe said volunteers were required to rappel down mountains, complete survival swimming in the ocean, and be able to survive in the jungle. He reports many otherwise qualified people dropped out of the program, so that kind of rigorous testing was discontinued. Moe said, “The locals thought we were training to invade .” Cuba
The Spanish speaking country of
is situated along the Equator with the coastal region being hot, steamy jungle ranging to the Ecuador ’ 20,000’ frozen peaks. Moe was trained in forestry management, so he was sent to the town of Andes Mountains (population 20,000) in a hilly region in the Ibaña in north central Province of Imbabura . He likened the hills there to the bare ones around Ecuador . The job there was to teach the planting of trees and to establish forestry cooperatives. Lewiston
Moe arrived to the rural area by bus. Since the people of the region are predominantly Catholic religiously and culturally, everything is tied-in with the Catholic Church. Moe said the local Bishop lived in a complex with a cathedral on one corner, and a church on the other end of the block. There was a vacant shed (a storage room) in between the two buildings where he and his roommate were told they could live. The shed had electricity, a toilet, and a sink, but did not have a stove or hot water.
When asked, ‘What was the most valuable thing he took away from the Peace Corps?’ Moe said, “My wife Joan.” Joan, another PC volunteer, was trained in extension work and school luncheon programs. After being in
a year together, the couple married and their first child, Shawn was born there. Ecuador
Moe said that since the PC experience is so unique and the Corps highly selective, most PC volunteers have a great deal in common with each other when they serve together in a foreign country. Six of the volunteers (during the time when he was there) not only got married but had children while serving.
Moe and Joan brought their three month old baby home to the states, and their family continued to grow. They had two more children, daughter Michelle, and son Tom (all OHS graduates).
The couple’s daughter Michelle grew up and served in the Peace Corps in Mali Africa which pretty much answers the question, ‘Would you recommend this experience to your children?’
Moe lost his wife Joan in 2003, but they shared not only a life together, but a great story to tell of their beginnings as a family.
Moe Paré took this picture of friend and fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Nick Pfeifer, around the cook fire with a village woman and child. Food gathering and preparation is labor intensive for the people.
Moe’s late wife Joan (far left) is pictured holding their baby son Shawn who was born while they were serving in the Peace Corps in
. Next to Joan is Nick Pfeifer. Ecuador
Moe Paré worked with villagers in the town of
(population 20,000) in a hilly region in the Ibaña in north central Province of Imbabura . He likened the hills there to the bare ones around Ecuador . His job there was to teach the planting of trees and to establish forestry cooperatives. Lewiston
While looking at local goods, Nick Pfeifer talks with a woman and her young daughter. The people of the region are predominantly Catholic, both religiously and culturally. Moe Paré took this picture.
Posted by ClearTrib at 3:21 PM