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Shared state, common mission for NH Peace Corps volunteers in Nepal

New Hampshire Sunday News, Manchester, New Hampshire

In a hilly region of the South Asian nation of Nepal, 24 Americans are a little more than a third of the way into a two-year Peace Corps assignment. Though the region is much closer to the Himalayas than it is to the White Mountains, there's a strong Granite State presence. Four of the volunteers - Ben Doller of Lee, Steven Fosher of Exeter, Allyson Goida of Nashua and Priya Knudsen of Merrimack - are from New Hampshire, a larger percentage than from any other state.

In addition to having in common a home state, the four share a mission: to improve the food security and health of local villagers, mainly by assisting with agricultural projects and teaching nutrition.

The volunteers will remain in South Asia for about 15 more months, working on projects such as organizing a dental clinic, mushroom farming, beekeeping, constructing stoves and developing a site to demonstrate agro-forestry.

"I've grown to appreciate another, wildly different culture, as well as my own, in a way I would never have fathomed had I stayed home," said Doller, 23. "It may just be that I had to completely step out of my own society to truly see it for what it is, all the while attempting to fit into another."

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