Working in the zoo was a new experience
for Peatross, and it changed her career plans.
It made me realize that I want to pursue
zoology and wildlife conservation as a
career,” she said.
Peatross also worked with Barry � an "old,
decrepit mule" that was one of her favorites.
He rarely left his pen until Peatross began
working with him. She groomed him regularly
and was easily able to walk him around zoo
grounds. Barry used to kick and bite when
he was cornered, but with Peatross’ handling
style, he would rub up against the fence for a
pat whenever she approached his pen.
Other zoo keepers took notice, and
Peatross saw a difference in how they
treated Barry and their animals – teaching
with encouragement rather than punishment.
Peatross also tutored zoo workers in
English, organized zoo tours for schools,
and led English tours of the zoo. She was
involved in HIV/AIDS prevention bike rides
and other secondary projects through the
American Women’s Club. During her first
year of service, Peatross worked in a small
village on animal husbandry and agriculture
projects. She was evacuated and sent to the
zoo due to security concerns in the region.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Hanes was
sent to the Republic of Moldova. Moldova is
located in Eastern Europe, with Romania to
the west and Ukraine surrounding the rest of
the country. Hanes resides in Rezina, one
of the 32 districts in Moldova.
She describes Rezina as “a pretty
typical small city with three small
restaurants; ʽmagazines,’ which are little
convenience stores ... and a nice sized piata
to shop at. It looks very much like an old
Soviet town because there are these huge
apartment complexes that probably host
half of the population all over town.”
While Hanes currently lives in Eastern
Europe, Leibman traveled to a slightly
warmer climate in Central America, where
she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in
Costa Rica from February 2008 to
Costa Rica is a mixture of rural and city
living. Leibman was located in a rural part of
Costa Rica where modern advances were just
starting to be seen.
The area used to be more agriculture; it
was cattle, then it was coffee. Now there is
less agricultural and more construction,”
Part of the process of becoming an official
Peace Corps volunteer requires spending
three months as a trainee, living with a
Hanes said that before heading to the
work site she received language lessons,
cultural integration, tips on life in Moldova,
and specifics to her job. At the end of the three
months, she was sworn in at the American
embassy in Moldova.
Leibman, on the other hand, continued to
live with her host family for one year. She
was given enough money “to live like a
local … and had to pay for rent, food,
She helped her host family with chores
on their farm in the morning, before working
on her projects as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Leibman's projects focused on facilitating
My bigger tasks were a water project,
a women's group, and teaching English.”
Her schedule varied daily, but all projects
were based on the needs of the community.
As needs became apparent, different projects
Because of the overwhelming interest in
learning and practicing English,” Hanes will
soon start an after-school English club for
students and adults in Rezina.
As an agri-business/rural business
development volunteer, Hanes collaborates
with Habitat for Humanity, which formed a
partnership with the Peace Corps 10 years
ago to work on global building projects.
For more than 20 years before that, Habitat
for Humanity had sent volunteers to work
internationally to support the organization's
house-building efforts. The opportunity to
include Peace Corps volunteers in Habitat for
Peatross works closely to help the community in
Niger better communicate with their animals.
Hanes smiles with a few of her young
Leibman works with students in Costa Rica to
help them learn English.