Beloit Peace Corps veteran still helping

From the Beloit Daily News:

Mary Batterman, a 2003 graduate of Beloit Memorial High School and the daughter of Mark and Gillian Batterman, decided to join the Peace Corps after attending Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. An anthropology major who graduated from college in 2007, she had studied abroad in Thailand and wanted to do overseas development work.

Batterman left in June of 2008 for Tanzania to become a health education volunteer. After briefly living with a host family and undergoing two-and-a-half months of intense Swahili training, she moved to a remote village in the southern highlands called Kilolo. There, she worked with local village officials to implement community projects.

She helped to get a health center opened in the village, organized a youth AIDS committee, started a writing club at the primary school and helped with HIV/AIDS treatment and counseling.

During her time in Kilolo, she lived in a mud brick house with a Tanzanian helper assigned to her. With no electricity or running water, she learned to cook over a coal fire and carry her own water in from more than a mile away. With most Kilolo residents growing vegetables on small plots of land, the typical diet was a corn flour porridge with vegetables or beans. Rice was available, although too expensive for the average family which lives on about 50 cents a day.

The nearest volunteer to Batterman was located in a village 8 miles away, reachable only by walking or bicycling.

Despite the rough conditions, Batterman enjoyed her time in Kilolo. When not working on her volunteer projects, she spent a lot of time walking around the village or sitting in the bread and tea shops. She said most local were eager to talk to her and learn about the United States.