Fate can really be fickle...
In 1965 I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to UC Davis to learn the techniques of poultry husbandry. It was a four month program after which we were to take what we learned to the folks of Kerala, India. After successfully completing the training and about to leave with my group, I was advised on the very last day that I could not join them because I had a slightly elevated blood pressure. Of course I was devastated.
Subsequently, I began teaching high school in a small rural town in central Missouri, which paid $4,200 a year.
Meanwhile, there was steady flow of letters between me and the volunteers who made it to various parts of India.
I managed to scrape enough money together to get a ticket and flew to India the following summer. It was 1966 and things were in terrible shape as the heat was bad and there was a critical shortage of rice- many were dying for lack of food.
I met up with some of my friends and began traveling, but overlooked bringing bottled water. Within days I was terribly sick and unable to eat for five days. Thus began a two month trip that didn’t get any better as I went along. By the time I left I had contracted two varieties of dysentery and was rather emaciated- I could not leave India soon enough.
After that, I led a normal life with career and family, raising four kids
Once I became a retired and single man, I discovered South East Asia and how pleasant that part of the world can be- a stark contrast to my previous experience in India.
At a family gathering in April of this year, my niece mentioned that her boss was Indian and his name was George John. I knew immediately he had to be from Kerala. She informed me he seeking volunteers to teach in the school that his family owns. After checking it out I applied and was accepted for the program.
So here we are fifty years after my first attempt to get to Kerala- it looks like I might make it and I can’t wait
Future Kerala Volunteer