Page 18 - William Woods University - Winter 2012-13

Imagine leaving your life in the United
States for 27 months to promote peace
and friendship around the world. Sound
appealing? You should join the Peace Corps.
Kate Hanes
a 2010 graduate of William
Woods University;
Nicole Peatross,
a 2007
graduate; and
Victoria Leibman
a 2006
graduate, each joined the Peace Corps to
volunteer in another country and experience
a whole new definition of travel.
Originally from Oostburg, Wis., Hanes was
a business administration major with a minor
in equine administration at William Woods.
Peatross, a native of Duchesne, Utah, was an
equestrian science major. Leibman, who came
to WWU from West Hartford, Conn., majored
in American Sign Language interpreting and
minored in social work.
Hanes, Peatross, and Leibman are among
more than 210,000 Americans who have
joined the Peace Corps since it was
established in 1961. There are currently
volunteers and trainees serving in
The stated mission of the Peace Corps
includes three goals: providing technical
assistance; helping people outside the
United States to understand American culture;
and helping Americans to understand the
cultures of other countries. The work is
generally related to social and economic
Each program participant, a Peace Corps
volunteer, is an American citizen, typically
with a college degree, who works abroad for
a period of 24 months after three months of
training. Volunteers work with governments,
schools, non-profit organizations, non-
government organizations, and entrepreneurs
in education, hunger, business, information
technology, agriculture, and the environment.
When Peatross began her Peace Corps
service in Niger she never thought she
would be feeding a baby hippopotamus
named Bouban.
Peatross was an agriculture and animal
husbandry volunteer who began working at
the Musee National du Niger in the zoo in
December 2009. Her primary job was to
improve the animals’ living conditions,
sanitation, and nutrition by helping her
host-country counterparts in the daily
operations of the zoo, making cage
improvements, and crafting proper
nutrition guidelines for the animals.
But during her time in Niger, the zoo took
in an orphan hippopotamus named Bouban.
Peatross helped zoo keepers feed the baby
hippo, who was fed about 15 liters of milk
daily from a tube because he hadn’t taken
to a bottle. She also assisted Bouban to get
accustomed to feeding from a bottle, recorded
his growth, and eventually helped transition
him to eating hay.
He is healthy, happy, cute, cuddly, and
getting huge,” Peatross said at the time.
Seeing him interact with humans has
helped visitors to see a different side to those
big scary hippos and hopefully to understand
and appreciate what a privilege it is to have
such amazing wildlife in Niger.”
By Rebekah Savage ’14
Living life abroad, one project at a time