ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Jane Albritton, after returning to Dallas from the Peace Corps (India 45, 1967-69), earned a master’s degree in English, taught freshman composition at Southern Methodist University, and served as the writing specialist for the SMU School of Law. In 1980, she created Tiger Enterprises, a company for writing, editing, and instruction. She borrowed the tiger from the Indian goddess Durga, who has not seemed to mind the loan.
In 1995, she moved with her partner to Fort Collins, Colorado, where she has continued to write, teach, edit, and ride her horse Paniolo. She currently teaches online courses for Colorado State University in business writing and magazine writing; she also writes on hospitality for the Northern Colorado Business Report. Her stories have appeared in Edible Front Range, American Way, Poudre Magazine, Southwest Art, and Travelers’ Tales: Hawaii. She edits works of fiction and non-, serving clients as diverse as CH2M HILL (an international engineering firm), O&P Edge (an orthotics and prosthetics trade magazine), and Scuba Schools International. She coordinated the first (and second) Tour of Solar Homes in Fort Collins and lives in a passive solar neighborhood.
Her works in progress include a book on the history of presidential pardons—Pardon Me, Mister President—and this series of collected Peace Corps stories to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the organization.
She can be contacted through this site:
How I Joined The Peace Corps And Ended Up In India
In the spring of 1966, our professor for the junior year “Tests and Measurements in Secondary School Teaching” was absent. So on a lark, three of us went to take the Peace Corps test being given at that very hour. Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, was not particularly fertile ground for recruiting Peace Corps volunteers, but the young woman who had come to our education class offered a compelling case for teaching halfway around the world.
We took the test and, on a second lark, all signed up for “advance training” that summer. I put down that I would like to go to Malaysia and teach.
Time passed. Gail Sandberg got an invitation to go to Turkey. I—who had been a Girl Scout and knew about primitive toilet situations and could play the guitar—heard nothing. So head held high, I went off to my sorority’s Grand Convention on Grand Bahama Island. That was where my Dad called me to say that a big package had arrived from Washington, D.C.
“The Peace Corps would like to invite you to advance training in village level food production in India.” Excuse me. What does that have to do with teaching in Malaysia? “PS: there is no advance training course for Malaysia.” Oh. “Training will be held in Lexington, Kentucky, on the University of Kentucky campus.” Excellent. A horse lover’s dream.
I arrived in Lexington on a hot day in summer with absolutely no idea of what to expect. It certainly wasn’t Gail Sandberg, for heavens sake, who was supposed to be training for Turkey. It wasn’t George Sanderson who could sing every single word of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” in an amazing Virginia accent, and it wasn’t Leander Jones from Lake, Mississippi, the only African American member of our group. When we went out to dinner with Leander, we didn’t get served.
Teachers saturated our days with lessons on culture, Hindi, wheat, chickens (we slit their throats, dressed, and ate them). Evenings we talked and talked. (And maybe drank a little to improve our Hindi accents.) By the end of the summer, it didn’t matter to me where we were going or what we would be doing. Being anywhere with a group that knew a “holler” from a hole in the ground and would debate the finer points of politics until the sun came up was fine with me.