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See the world, help the world

South Africa-3_opt

Spending three years living in a village in Africa with no electricity or running water isn’t for everyone. For Daniel Goshorn-Maroney ’05, however, the time spent with the Peace Corps was life-changing.

Daniel graduated from UIndy in 2005 with a degree in history and earned his master’s from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2009. At that point, he felt that it was time to get away from the classroom.

“I was motivated to join the Peace Corps as a way to travel and to experience other cultures, but also as a way to do something meaningful with my life,” says Daniel, who spent time in Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, and Jordan during grad school. “I had spent eight years in college and grad school and I wanted to do something that was not as focused on myself.”

 

Making plans

South Africa-5_opt

Getting chosen for the Peace Corps isn’t a simple process, but Daniel passed all the tests and was asked to choose between helping with agriculture in Africa or teaching English in Central Asia. He chose Africa and let the adventure begin. During a whirlwind nine-week training course, Daniel studied French, agricultural techniques, gender diversity, and health care.

In November 2010 he headed off to Nampoch, Togo, a small village in West Africa of about 1,100 people. Though he was scheduled only for 24 months, he asked for his time to be extended another ten months. His primary projects included creating a garden and teaching the locals about agriculture and sustainable foods.

“My most successful project was one that raised $10,000 to replace water pumps in nine communities,” he says. “The project helped roughly 5,000 rural Togolese. Helping people gain access to clean drinking water was definitely a rewarding experience.”

His secondary projects focused on gender equality and sanitation, along with promoting women’s education and encouraging them to stay in school. He helped to start a girls’ soccer team for the local high school, and after much work and practice, watched with excitement as his team scored their first goal.


‘It is a great opportunity to do something meaningful, but it is also an experience that will challenge you and change you in ways you never imagined’


Mango bliss

When Daniel thinks about his time with the Peace Corps, he often thinks about the quiet evenings spent socializing with his friends from the village.

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“We’d be sitting under a mango tree and talking about life. The projects that I did were great, but the things that mean the most to me are the relationships that I formed with people there,” he says.

Daniel gives credit to several UIndy professors for influencing his decision to join the Peace Corps.

“They all embraced UIndy’s motto of ‘Education for Service,’” he says. “Their passion for education, and the passion that they devote to the pursuit of education, continues to inspire me.”

Daniel is grateful he got the opportunity to see the world and experience other cultures—and to have opened his mind in a way that staying in the United States would not have offered.

“I would also caution anyone against thinking that he or she is going into the Peace Corps to change the world or to help other people,” he says. “You will not do that. Instead you are going to serve them and in turn, help them to help themselves.”

—Allison Gallagher ’14