Profile: Gabriela Gomez
As a business volunteer in Mali, Ms. Gomez, worked with businesses and non-profits that were in the early stages of development. She and other Volunteers worked on establishing milestones, project development, trainings and presentations. She was also given a great deal of responsibility. In particular, she coordinated a campaign that included over 25,000 participants, and presented proposals to senior members of other international organizations and local municipalities.
"I first learned about Peace Corps as many individuals do - through television. I remember being about seven years old and seeing the advertisements on television. Specifically, seeing a man in his twenties going into a village hut."
"During my time in college, I realized I wanted to spend some time abroad. I chose Kenya because it seemed to be the region of the world that I knew about the least. While I was there, I worked with several non-profit organizations and became aware of the extreme economical divides within the culture.
I finished my schooling and returned to the U.S. Upon my return, I began to search out other international opportunities and Peace Corps was a good match with my business/non-profit background. When I applied to Peace Corps, I assumed they would send me to a Spanish-speaking country because of my heritage and my fluent Spanish. That did not turn out to be the case. Because of my prior experience in Africa, and a very small amount of French, I was sent to Mali."
"Personally, I was given the opportunity to live within a culture. I was not a tourist and I was not living in a bubble away from the community. I knew the community members and they knew me. We shared meals and laughed together, and we shared moments of sorrow and cried together. Regardless of the realities of our economic environments and our cultural differences, we came to know each other as people with specific personalities and dedications. For all the poverty I saw, I can honestly say I have never encountered a more loving and laughing culture. In addition to the memories, this was the greatest gift that Peace Corps gave to me a new way of seeing things."
"Currently, I am working as an IT systems assistant for Phillips Electronics. I am planning to attend graduate school for an M.B.A. in the near future."
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