Additionally, one can readily see the social and work-related
patterns shared among retired PCVs:
Three years ago, Karen and I hosted another exchange student, a
Future Leaders Exchange Program student from Kyrgyzstan who spent
his senior year at a nearby public high school. He is now in his
junior year at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek.
Our deal with him is to attend his May 2013 graduation, kick around
Kyrgyzstan for a week or so, and then take him to Turkey for our
first trip back since 1967.
Meet three other members of our T-12 cohortScout (Sara Fritzell)
Hanhan, Al Handy, and Eileen McCarthy.
Scout (Sara Fritzell) Hanhan, Childcare Specialist
Scout began training as a recent Stanford graduate with a degree in
psychology. She was assigned to a tuberculosis dispensary in
Istanbul, where she gave shots, took X-rays, and generally assisted
the two social nurses who were her co-workers. She lived and made
visits in the gecekondu to educate TB patients and their families
about how to live with the disease.
Then, when the TB program closed down, she was retrained in
childcare and started working at a childrens home on the other side
of Istanbul. Here, she worked with two groups of preschool
children, including one group with special needs. After completing
her volunteer tour in July 1967, Scout joined the Peace Corps staff
as director of the Child Care Program and moved to Ankara, where
she stayed until August 1970 when the Peace Corps left Turkey all
In the meantime, she married her husband Ugur in 1968 and gave
birth to their two sons. The family stayed in Turkey until 1977.
Next, they returned to the United States where Scout worked as a
social worker in a speech and hearing clinic before going back to
school to get her PhD in Early Childhood Education. She remained in
this field until 2003, when she retired as associate provost of
undergraduate education at the University of North Dakota.
Al Handy, Helping the Disabled
Al grew up in Lafayette, Alabama, and graduated from North Carolina
Central University with a BS in Physical Education prior to joining
the Peace Corps. In Turkey, he was assigned to Ankaras Hacettepe
University Hospital where he taught average daily living activities
to people with disabilities, including such tasks as getting out of
bed, dressing oneself, and using artificial limbs. In Ankara, all
of Als neighbors were Turks.
One night a young Kenyan knocked on his door and, believing Al a
fellow Kenyan, shared that he wanted to go to America to continue
his education. Al (an African-American) told Michael that if he
applied to American universities and was accepted, he would help
him achieve his goals. In 1968, after Michael was indeed accepted,
Al purchased him an airplane ticket to the United States and
sponsored his education. Michael went on to earn a masters degree
and a PhD in engineering and has worked extensively throughout the
world in water resources. He later returned to Kenya, where he
started a school and now serves in a government position in
In 1970, Al spent a summer as a PCV in Peru working with victims of
a massive earthquake. A decade later, Al visited Michael and his
family for their sweet reunion in the Rift Valley.
Eileen McCarthy, Creating Social Work Program
Eileen came to PCV training at age 28 after listening to Sargent
Shriver speak at her Fordham School of Social Work graduation in
New York City. She was assigned to establish a social work
department at Hacettepe Hospital in Ankara and create a graduate
social work program at
Hacettepe University. Along with her Turkish counterpart, Nket,
who also had completed her masters degree in social work in New
York, Eileen used the community organizing technique she had been
taught in Portland to interview all the doctors and administrative
staff at the hospital to find out what they thought social workers
did and how they would use the services of a social work
She traveled widely while in Turkey, and when she returned to the
United States, Eileen became a social worker at Catholic Social
Services in San Francisco. She stayed there for 34 years in a
variety of capacities. When she retired in 2002, Eileen rejoined
the Peace Corps for another two years, this time to work at a women
and childrens clinic in Gabon, Africa. Speaking French now, she
gave prevention talks focused on common illnesses such as
malnutrition, dysentery, malaria, and HIV.
On her way home from Gabon in 2004, Eileen stopped in Istanbul
where she was able to reunite with both her Turkish roommate and
Nket, and their husbands. While there, she learned that Hacettepe
Hospital still has an operating social work department and now
offers a graduate degree of social work through the university as
well. No one she spoke with remembered her or knew that Peace Corps
had been there at the instigation of their program. For Eileen,
that is as it should be.