Anthony Trujillo: A cultural ambassador with the Peace Corps

Anthony Trujillo. Photo from Google+

Peter Trujillo shares his journey from Ohkay Owingeh in New Mexico to Mongolia and back to the U.S. as part of the Peace Corps:
I grew up in Ohkay Owingeh, one of the Eight Northern Pueblos of Northern New Mexico. As a child, the thought of living in another country was only slightly more plausible than moving to Mars, but looking back it’s clear that my journey into international service started there, in the heart of Indian Country, and was shaped significantly by my connection with traditional Tewa culture and language.

When I finished college, I began contemplating how I might bring together my varied interests. The eureka moment came upon first seeing the Peace Corps website. I knew it was something unique.

The Peace Corps emphasized the necessity of learning the local language and culture and affirmed this with more than two months of intensive language and cultural training while living with a host family. Finances were another important factor. Though the Peace Corps is a volunteer service organization, it provided everything necessary for living and working abroad: travel, training, housing, health care and a living stipend which, though not an American salary, was plenty to live on. It was also important to know that after finishing 27 months of service, Peace Corps would provide career transition resources, a wealth of graduate school opportunities and transition funds (currently over $8,000) to help with resettling in the U.S.

The 27-month commitment was substantial, but this was an opportunity unlike any other to represent my country and my tribe, while working with people in another part of the world. A little less than a year later, I was in a plane bound for the land-locked country in Central Asia about to become my home: Mongolia.

Get the Story:
Anthony Trujillo: On Being a Cultural Ambassador with the Peace Corps (Indian Country Today 5/18)

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