Photos from Deborah’s Service
Deborah Moskovitz’s Peace Corps Story
Where and when did you serve? What did you do?
I served with the Peace Corps in Concepcion, Intibuca, Honduras 1992-1994, as an Agricultural Extension Volunteer. We had a longer training of five months, because we had to learn Spanish, cross cultural training, and soil conservation practices. When I was in my site, I would walk between one and two hours to other villages, where I would work with farmers, who wanted to learn how to curb erosion on their farms. I taught them how to make level vegetable garden terraces, level barriers of rock and organic materials, and compost piles. I encouraged the farmers to plant less seeds but closer together, and incorporate many kinds of organic materials into their soils. I also sold soy beans to increase the nitrogen in corn; therefore making the plants greener and bigger.
What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?
One of my favorite Peace Corps memories was the field trip that I organized for my farmers. I wrote a four page Spanish budget proposal for $1,200, so my farmers and I could visit a nearby community, whose program was more established. Once we arrived, the farmers’ wives served everyone coffee and bread made out of the nitrogen fixing bean. People were surprised how good it tasted. Our next stop was a model farm where every bit of land was cultivated in the new ways. The owner of the land talked to us about how to incorporate organic material into the ground, and showed everyone his farm. After this, we had a typical lunch served by the wives. Finally, we met with a farmer, who showed his tomato plants, and then told everyone about the “human farm”. He explained that it was very important to share information and teach others about soil conservation. The whole day took about thirteen hours what with transportation, meals, and the field trip.
What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?
One of my least favorite Peace Corps memories was my 24th birthday. The day before my 24th birthday, I looked out my door, and saw a light where there shouldn’t have been one, and heard a huge commotion. There was no electricity then, and I wondered what was happening. Down the street from my room, the store and house were on fire. There were no fire trucks or hoses; so, I watched along with everyone else as people tried to put out the fire with buckets of water. I always had dreams of a fire burning down my house or a house in my neighborhood. It seemed as if that premonition was coming true half a world away! Fortunately, a wonderful family helped me move into their house for the night. The next day, they made bread and celebrated my birthday with me, but all my money was stolen, and I spent the day moving back into my room. It wasn’t a very happy birthday!
What do you miss about Peace Corps?
I miss my friends, and being able to talk in Spanish every day. It was particularly sad for me the first year or so. I can talk to different people online, but it just isn’t the same. Talking on the phone is difficult, since I like to see lips move and read body language. About three years ago, I reconnected with people on Facebook, but this hasn’t all been successful, as my life is different now. I’m married with a thirteen year old girl. Sadly, some great friends just don’t fit into my life anymore.
What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?
I’ve learned that living alone, and experiencing loneliness and boredom will not kill you. Even though I had many friends, and even boyfriends, there was a lot of time, which I spent by myself. I learned that during this time, I could write letters, journal, read books, and listen to music. I also enjoyed lying in my hammock and listening to my shortwave radio. These times come and go throughout life. It’s better to roll with them than to fight them.
Do you have a favorite quote or local saying?
“Tranquilo” would be the word that I remember most. Everybody was calm and relaxed. It was hot, and so we didn’t feel like doing much.