Who: Betty Weitz
Assignment: Grenada, 1987-89
She evaluated job openings for mentally handicapped students ages 14 to 21. She taught them functional living skills.
Update: Today she volunteers at an American Indian day care center in Fells Point, works on improving her Spanish and
volunteers at a local soup kitchen.
At age 61, divorced and the mother of four grown children, Weitz joined the Peace Corps after retiring as a special education teacher with Baltimore County schools. "I've always been active in the peace movement, but I felt it was time to do some one-to-one sharing."
"One of the biggest adjustments I made was to the temperature. One day it was 112 degrees. I had a flat that was 39 steps up. The island is very steep and curvy. It took some getting used to the hills."
". . .It wasn't unusual for the electricity to be off six hours a day. I used a two-burner propane stove and learned to make corn bread on it. I could carry the tank down the steps [for refilling] on my own, but had to get help getting it back upstairs."
". . .I had been used to 'free' lunch periods and planning time in schools at home. But in Grenada there were no teacher aides. There was no art or music teacher or physical therapy teacher or speech teacher. One person did it all.
She spent non-teaching hours in her avocation as a clown, "something I've learned to do since I retired. I used that at schools, camps for the underprivileged, benefits, old-folks homes, everywhere I would do it at home."
". . .It's amazing what you can get used to. I was a Depression kid. I fell into it naturally. You have to use your flexibility and resourcefulness. In fact I'm having more problems settling down now. I feel I should be gearing up for my next big thing."