His uncle’s passing in the Peace Corps inspired him to serve – Darryl Glotfelty, Tanzania 2013-2016
Growing up, Darryl Glotfelty would look around the house at keepsakes that his parents had accumulated over the years, but was particularly drawn to a few objects that didn’t quite fit in with the Appalachian décor. The red drum, batiks, and picture of his uncle in his Togolese dress all piqued Darryl’s interest. Sadly, his uncle passed away during his Peace Corps service, before Darryl was born. Yet, he inspired Darryl to serve many years later.
Photos from Darryl’s Story
Darryl Glotfelty’s Peace Corps Story
Where and when did you serve? What did you do?
I served in Tanzania from 2013-2016. I served as an Education volunteer, teaching chemistry in a secondary school. In addition to being a teacher at my school, I helped start an environmental and entrepreneurial club. This program worked to train students in conservation with entrepreneurial twist. Best practices in tree propagation, beekeeping, and added value products was taught to the students. I extended a year at site to continue these projects and to help expand upon our programming at the school.
What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?
Aside from the teaching and programming at site, I got the chance to travel around the country and have some unique experiences. One of my favorite was going to the running festival in the city right outside of Mt. Kilimanjaro. My fiance (then girlfriend) decided to sign up for the half marathon without doing any training. It was a challenge, but was very rewarding to have accomplished. We accomplished our goal of finishing in under 3 hours. Not too shabby for some novice runners…
What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?
Seeing corporal punishment on a daily basis was one of the hardest things about my service. It was a challenge to see people I respected participate in such a cruel form of punishment and be able to separate my feelings from interfering with those relationships. This is culturally accepted, but something that I never became complacent to. I would speak up and occasionally challenge teachers and my superiors over their actions. I always said that change will not occur from those are who silent and I definitely did not remain silent on this issue.
What do you miss about Peace Corps?
I definitely miss the community I was able to foster during my service. There is something powerful about human relationships and how people interact on a daily basis. Tanzanians are some of the most welcoming people and finding that now that I am home has been a bit of a challenge.
What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?
The power of listening is something I have taken with me. A mindset shifted in me when i could not speak the language or understand everything that was going on. I had to step back and listen and observe. These are powerful tools to use in any space and really helped me when I was working on developing projects at my school.
Do you have a favorite quote or local saying?”
“Pole pole, ndio mwendo.” Slow slow is the way to go. (slowly but surely).