The Road to the Peace Corps

8/23/1978: Joanna is born

3/7/1979: Kevin is born

1983-89: At some point during these years Joanna hears about Peace Corps, probably from Family Ties or Facts of Life

8/23/2004: Kevin and Joanna meet

2/2005: Kevin visits friend and Peace Corps Ghana volunteer in his site

6/15/2005: Kevin and Joanna go on controversial first date

6/24/2005: Kevin and Joanna go on second date and discuss the Peace Corps

7/2/2006: Kevin and Joanna get married

2006-2009: Kevin and Joanna talk about Peace Corps extensively

6/2009: Kevin and Joanna begin Peace Corps application

9/21/2009: Application submitted

9/30/09: Additional forms and references requested

10/21/09: Interview and more forms requested

10/27/09: Additional information and references submitted

11/19/2009: Interview and fingerprinting, recruiter suggests we enroll in French classes to improve
placement odds in Sub-Saharan Africa

12/1/2009: Nominated for South Pacific

12/3/2009: Receive medical and dental forms, start scheduling appointments

1/2010: Receive dental clearance (valid for one year)

3/3/2010: Medical forms submitted

4-5/2010: Additional medical documentation requested, multiple times.  Develop meaningful relationship with staff of our doctor’s office

6/11/2010: Receive medical clearance

8/10/2010: Additional forms requested for legal/financial clearance

8/11/2010: Updated resume requested and submitted

8/12/2010: Placement interview requested

8/16/2010: Placement Interview, learn we may leave for the South Pacific as early as October

9/7/2010: Learn the October post has filled, placement officer begins submitting requests for an assignment in January

10/7/2010: Receive legal clearance

10/08/2010: Learn January program was cancelled by post, placement officer begins investigating a potential opening in Eastern Europe.  Joanna’s nomination changed from education to community economic development

10/25/2010: Learn of potential placement in Asia leaving between January and March 2011

11/4/2010: Learn program has filled, earliest potential new post leaves March 28, 2011

11/17/2010: Joanna receives phone call from placement officer.  Our invitation to serve in South America, leaving late May 2011, is in the mail

11/19/2010: Receive invitation to serve in Paraguay

11/25/2010: Accept Invitation

11/26/2010: Acceptance verification received, receive request for more paperwork: passport and visa applications, aspiration statement

12/6/2010: Submit aspiration statement

1/2010: Submit visa application, start tracking down certified copies of birth certificates for passport application (we needed our personal passports and therefore could not submit them with our application)

1/2011: Joanna puts in notice at work

2/2011: Submit passport application

3/24/2011: Additional legal paperwork requested

4/5/2011: Kevin gives his notice at work

4/7/2011: Legal hold placed on application

4/21/2011: Legal hold released

4/22/2011: Submit updated forms for dental clearance

4/25/2011: Receive staging information

4/27/2011: Receive dental clearance

5/3/2011: Book tickets to Miami for staging

5/4/2011: Kevin’s last day at work

5/17/2011: Receive updated staging documents

5/23/2011: Joanna’s last day at work

5/24/2011: Leave for Miami (flight delayed)

5/24/2011: Arrive in Miami for staging registration

5/25/2011: Staging

5/25/2011: Leave staging hotel for the 11:05pm flight to Montevideo, Uruguay (flight delayed)

5/26/2011: (Just after midnight) Flight delayed, flight delayed again, finally board plane

5/26/2011: Arrive in Montevideo with barely enough time to cross the airport and catch the flight to Paraguay

5/26/2011: Arrive in Asuncion, Paraguay, 1:35pm local time

5-8/2011: Peace Corps Community Economic Development technical and language training

8/5/2011: Sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers

8/9/2011: Kevin and Joanna arrive in ItapĂșa to start 24 months of service as Peace Corps volunteers

11/4/2011: Kevin and Joanna move into their very own Paraguayan house after over a half year of living with host families

Complications that stretched out our application process

We are married.  Married couples typically take almost twice as long to receive invitations as single applicants, as placement officers need to find a post matching the skills of two people rather than just one.  This is more challenging than it sounds.

Joanna has asthma.  Not every Peace Corps post is medically cleared for asthmatics.  Volunteers with specific medical conditions may only serve in posts designated appropriate for said medical condition.

We have a mortgage on a condo in Chicago.  Peace Corps requires that volunteers find solutions for any and all stateside financial responsibilities before service either through savings, loan deferment, or (in our case) finding renters.