"I can tell you that being a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Meredith "Muffy" Green tells Listening In columnist George Vukelich. "It was harder than single-parenting three teenagers."
Green, who is president of Returned Peace Corps Veterans of Wisconsin, says she had to live with no electricity, no refrigeration and no hot water - and, more important, had to readjust her assumptions as well.
She and her colleagues went in thinking "we were going to make great changes in some poor country," but "some of what I had to share wasn't anything they wanted or needed," she says of her two years in Ecuador .
For Green this was a valuable lesson: learning "to respect people, respect their values and realize ours are different, not necessarily better."
Twenty years later, Green, who is now an outreach worker for the Waisman Center , says her stint in the Peace Corps was a life-changing event. "The choices I've made in my life reflect what I learned in the Peace Corps, especially the experience of prejudice and poverty. It changed the way I raised my own kids."