Ex-Peace Corps volunteers to mark 50 years of service here

Costa Rica was a different country 50 years ago when Victor Corbin arrived as one of the first U.S. Peace Corps volunteers.

Corbin, for years a Maryland high school teacher, will be among other former volunteers when they celebrate the corps half century mark in the country. The event will be at the Los Laureles residence of Ambassador Anne Slaughter Andrew Wednesday evening.

The Maryland teacher was in Esparza Monday planning his trip to the Central Valley. Corbin got more than great satisfaction by being a Peace Corps volunteer. He met his wife, Sibella, here. They will celebrate their 48th year anniversary this year. They are staying with members of her family.

Corbin said that there had been other groups of volunteers sent overseas by the time he came to Costa Rica. But the other groups went elsewhere. The bulk of his time here was spent helping to train Costa Ricans in modern methods of teaching English as a second language. But he said he also taught classes himself.

The program here was established in 1963. Since this time 3,445 Peace Corps volunteers have served with 136 volunteers actively serving today, said the agency’s Web site.

Peace Corps volunteers in Costa Rica help the country by providing youth and community development, as well as education training in English and business. They live in various regions of the country including the Central Valley, Limón, Puntarenas, Los Chiles and Paso Canoas.

One volunteer is working within a small community with eight women teaching micro entrepreneurship skills. Together they have created a clothing business. All the items sold are hand sewn by the women, according to the embassy Web site.

Past volunteers will be flying in to partake in this reunion and tell stories of their service.

Former president John F. Kennedy proposed the idea when he still was a senator. He promoted the idea in his successful 1960 presidential campaign. In all some 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries.

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