Fresno Couple Heads to Ukraine; 2nd Peace Corps Tour - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fresno Couple Heads to Ukraine; 2nd Peace Corps Tour

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By Clint Olivier

FRESNO - Packed suitcases, waiting to begin a very long journey.

But they're not going on vacation.

These bags belong to a couple of recent retirees who are on their way to Ukraine.

"We decided we needed to do something that was a little bit adventurous, a little bit of work," Susan Vasquez said.

So Susan and Bruce Vasquez went to a tried-and-true play in the playbook: become one of the 8 thousand or so Americans serving in the Peace Corps.

The couple spent two years in Columbia working with street children in the 70's.

"It was a great experience. So it was always in the back of our minds said we'd like to try again if life allows," Bruce said.

This time the couple will head to Eastern Europe to teach English.

It's not exactly living in a tent and looking for safe drinking water, but Susan Vasquez says it's important work nonetheless.

"Every society has needs and they have requested the type of help we are able to provide, hopefully," she said.

"We love our retired folks and people who are in mid career and midlife," Mona Nyandoro said.

Nyandoro is a former Peace Corps volunteer and recruiter.

She says it's typical for baby-boomer married couples to join together, and the organization welcomes those kinds of volunteers.

Five percent of them fall into this category.

"With folks who are 50 and over, they have a skill set that is so much broader than your typical college graduate," Nyandoro said.

Susan and Bruce Vasquez can't wait for tomorrow morning, when they grab their luggage and leave Fresno to make a difference in another part of the world.

"You make an impact, but you also bring back something of the culture and you're able to incorporate that into your lifestyle," Susan Vasquez said.

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