The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 26, 2005

Peace Corps role takes woman to Africa

Wanting to volunteer and see the world, a young Jackson Township woman is leaving the comforts of her native land this week on a sojourn to a Third World country.

For the next 27 months, Lindsay Miesko will be calling Cameroon home – a Western African nation about the size of California. She will be a Peace Corps volunteer.

Miesko will volunteer as a community-development agent, working with people on improving health, water and sanitation conditions.

“The idea is, I believe, to be a sort of peer so I can help them and teach them ways to better their life within their own cultural boundaries and own (financial) means,” Miesko said.

For her parents, Joe and Peggy Miesko of Dishong Mountain Road, it’s still hard to believe their daughter will soon be an ocean away.

“For someone who doesn’t even like camping, this was a surprise,” her mother said Monday.

“Her dad and myself are a little concerned about her safety, but we’re proud of her. And there’s a lot of people praying for her,” Mrs. Miesko said.

Miesko leaves at 5 a.m. Wednesday from Johnstown/Cambria County Airport for a flight to Philadelphia, for a two-day orientation, then on to Cameroon via Paris.

“I didn’t want to one day reach the age of 35 living in comfort and not be fulfilled spiritually,” the 23-year-old woman said in explaining why she joined the Peace Corps.

In addition, Miesko, who describes herself as “spiritual rather than religious,” likes the fact that the Peace Corps has “no proselytizing.”

Her first three months will be spent with her team – 30 to 60 people – in the capital of Yaounde, for in-depth language, vocational, cultural and safety training before going to her assigned location.

Miesko, a May graduate of Shippensburg University with a double major in English and journalism and a minor in French, is hoping her college French classes will help her in French-speaking Cameroon.

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