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2004 Plymouth graduate travels to Ghana

August 22, 2011

Peace Corps volunteer, Jim Kubley, in Paga, a popular tourist spot, stoops over a large, live crocodile. The traditional belief is that when a native dies, his spirit lodges in the crocodile. After feeding the crocodile a chicken, briefly, Jim said, “I was well aware that the croc could run faster than I could.”

PLYMOUTH —Jim Kubley, 26, son of Dr. Rod and Sue Kubley and a 2004 graduate of Plymouth High School, is home for a short visit following a 27 month stint with the Peace Corps.

Jim graduated from Bethel College in 2008 having majored in Economics and Business Administration.
He took some time off, volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club before receiving his nomination and invitation to join the Peace Corps.

Jim noted that this year is the 50th anniversary for the Peace Corps, established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. The goals of the Corps are to provide technical assistance, to help people outside of the United States to understand U.S. culture and to help Americans understand the culture of other countries.

In 1952, a United States Senator called the volunteers, “missionaries of democracy.”

“There is no age limit to join,” he said. “Just as long as you are healthy.”

An 80-year-old woman was in his group, having joined when she was 78.

After 10 weeks of training in the Small Enterprise Division, in order to get an idea of what it is like in the Corps, Jim was assigned to Ghana, West Africa. The country is situated along the Atlantic Ocean and is zero degrees longitude and zero degrees latitude.

“It was the first time I had been out of North America,” he said, “and it was exciting and challenging at the same time.”

Most people in the city speak English and Jim had some training in the Fra language as well.
He lived 27 months in Nyariga, a small village. “There was no electricity and no running water,” he said. “I didn’t see any snakes,” he said,” but there were plenty of bugs.”

His diet contained a lot of rice (which he enjoyed) and a lot of beans ( which he didn’t.)

The main project in his village is basket weaving for a St. Louis company. Fifty weavers will make four to five thousand baskets a year to export.

“They are beautiful, colorful baskets,” Jim said, “some with leather handles. “My job primarily was in quality control.”

He recommends the area as a tourist attraction. “The beaches are outstanding and the people are friendly.”
He enjoyed hiking, repelling and taking field trips with groups.

Jim will be leaving soon to return to Africa as a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) intern with Coca Cola. He hopes it will lead to a permanent job. His experience in the country is a valuable asset to American countries who plan to expand into the area.

“I am glad that I made the decision to join the Corps,” he said. “It was a great experience and I am anxious to go back.”

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