Name: Tim Delaney
GUY Group: GUY 12
Guyana Site: Dartmouth
Type of Volunteer: Education
1. What have you been up to since you finished Peace Corps?
After I finished my 3rd year in Guyana in 2006 I spent a few months at home in Buffalo, both looking for jobs in Africa and helping with the foundation of FROG. In 2007 I moved to Ethiopia to work for Oxfam America for a year. After Sasha and I’s wedding in December that year I hung out in Guyana for a couple months and then Sasha and I moved back to Ethiopia so I could start my job at the Engineering Capacity Building Program (www.ecbp.biz) in the capacity of Communications Coordinator. And that is where you can still find me.
2. What do you miss most about Guyana and your Peace Corps experience?
I would say El Dorado, but since I’ve been going back so steady I’ve managed to always keep a stockpile with me in Ethiopia. More importantly, I miss my friends and family. It makes it even harder being in Ethiopia where the phone communication to Guyana is so tough and most of my good friends don’t have email. I also miss the more relaxed approach to things and the stress free life style (even if it was a source of stress sometimes when trying to get things done.)
3. How did your experience in Guyana affect your post-Peace Corps experience?
Guyana taught me to slow down. Everything doesn’t need to get done immediately; life needs to be enjoyed a little. That’s not to say you never have to work, but there is a time for work and a time for enjoyment. I think the expression is ‘work hard, play hard’. I’ve tried my best to take this experience into my post PC life.
4. Describe a challenge you worked to overcome while in PC Guyana.
Life is all about challenges. I’m not sure I worked through any particular problem in PC that I would not have faced anywhere else in the world. That being said, the biggest challenge I had was returning for my 3rd year, ready to start the construction of our village resource center, only to find out that the funding source had changed its policies during my leave and we could no longer go through with the project. In the end I used it as a valuable lesson for my community in that they should have never sat back and waited for funding, we should have kept pushing. We worked through the problem though and used our time to do other valuable things for the community.
5. In 5 words, describe your Peace Corps experience.
Inspirational, life-changing and amazing people. (Or Toughest job I’ll ever love.)
6. What is your favorite Peace Corps Guyana memory?
Wow, big question. Well, hands down it would have to be meeting my beautiful wife Sasha. But there are so many other fantastic memories of village trips to the lake when my father was visiting, rodeos, crossing trenches and jumping seawalls in the middle of the night to swim in the ocean, rodeos, weddings, rodeos, nights in the Timbassy Suites, trips to Uncle Mello’s in the Pomeroon, rodeos, BBQs, Guy 12, and Region 2, 2, 2!
7. What was the hardest part of readjusting to post-Peace Corps life?
Making money. It was a little strange to move to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where things are relatively cheap and be making money…part of me was still in PC mode and would shy away from decent (not really all that expensive, but more than what a PCV could afford) restaurants and bars, but some of my friends probably thought I was pretty crazy since I was passing up opportunities to go to nice restaurants where the entrees were only about $5-7 because I thought that was too expensive.
8. Which lessons from Peace Corps have you applied in your post-Peace Corps jobs/life?Guyana and Peace Corps opened my mind to the idea of letting people tell you what they want in the context of development, rather than just doing things that you think are helpful. I have carried this mentality with me to Ethiopia (and in life in general) and try my best to apply it all the time, although I find it quite difficult to convince many others working in development. Getting to know people and their needs is often a much better way to help than having a wealth of knowledge in a particular field.
9. What advice would you give a future or current Peace Corps Volunteer (Guyana or otherwise)?
Enjoy. Listen. Learn.
10. Would you do Peace Corps again? Where, when and why?
I would definitely do it again if the opportunity arose. I would probably wait until after retirement when my children are in college so that Sasha and I could go together. Where: maybe somewhere in the Caribbean so our children wouldn’t mind visiting.
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