Thursday, September 22, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Mark, Maggie & Libya

This article was printed in the South St. Paul Reporter in late July, 1968.

Left for Peace Corps Training, July 14
Brossoits May 'Honeymoon" In Africa
   It's pretty exciting to get engaged, and it's even more exciting when a couple becomes engaged and makes application as Peace corp volunteers on the same day!
   This is the story of a South St. Paul couple, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Brossoit, 111 W. Richmond.
   "Mark and I became engaged on February 9, 1967, when we were both students at St. Cloud State College," explained Margaret Brossoit.  "We had often discussed the possibility of joining the Peace Corps, and since there happened to be a Peace Corps unit on campus that day, we decided it was an ideal opportunity to submit our applications together."
   "By entering our applications as an engaged couple, the forms were processed together, so we could be assured of being assigned to the same base after our marriage."


   "Mark has always been very enthusiastic about the Peace Corps, and the more I listened to him, the more intrigued I became. . . it's a wonderful way to travel and to learn about another culture.  We'll have an opportunity few married couples ever have.  We both feel this work will be a great strengthening bond for the beginning of a marriage." added Mrs. Brossoit.
   Margaret graduated from St. Cloud State in December and has been teaching ninth grade English at John Glenn Jr. High School in North St. Paul.  After the two-year term of duty, Mark plans to return to St. Cloud State to finish education and become an elementary school music teacher.


   Married June 15, the couple left for the training center in Bisbee, Arizona July 14.
   "With barely a month between the wedding and our scheduled departure, we've been more than busy," commented Margaret.  "We'll spend three months training in the center at Bisbee, which is close to the Mexican border."
   "We'll have 10-hour days of scheduled study, including five or six hours learning Arabic (we'll have a total of 325 hours of Arabic language).  While we're in volunteer training, we receive our room, board and a small daily spending allowance," continued Mrs. Brossoit.


   "If we successfully complete the training program, we'll be sent to Libya, Africa.  We've been told to pack both summer and winter clothing because we will not be permitted to return to our homes after training."
   "In Libya we'll be participating in a new program similar to "team teaching" . . . we will work with a native instructor teaching English as a foreign language to fifth year elementary school students.  These children will not have had any English language study at all, so I can certainly understand why we will have such a condensed language program at the training center."
   "No one enters the Peace Corps with financial gain in mind," added Mark.  "We'll be provided with housing and a token salary.  The Peace Corps automatically saves a portion of each worker's salary every month, and at the end of the 21-month tour of duty, the money is returned to the individual in a lump sum."
   "The Peace Corps advocated extra-curricular activities for volunteers, too," continued Mark.  "I'm hoping to work with the natives by forming glee clubs, choirs and possibly musical instrument groups.  Margaret is an excellent seamstress and I'm sure she'll find ways to help the girls and women with extra sewing classes."


   "We've been told we'll be living at a local level and since there are no set religious, political or social systems connected with the Peace Corps, we'll be governed by our own beliefs and ambitions, " he added.
   "While we hope to help promote a better understanding of the American people, we're also planning to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the people of Libya and their native culture."

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