090 Michele (“Mitch”) Harboson


I had only been working as a computer programmer at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for about a year, making what seemed like a lot of money for a not so difficult job, when I got the idea that I wanted to explore more of the world and perhaps help people who hadn’t had the opportunities that Americans take for granted.  So I applied to join the Peace Corps, and at the age of twenty-five headed to Kenya for two years to be one of six teachers in a secondary school that served a community of subsistence farmers.  I’m sure it was a rough two years – long before electricity, running water, or modern communication had reached my village – but pretty much all I remember now is the camaraderie, the beauty of the land and sky, and how hard my students worked.  It was the defining experience of my life, and it was hard fitting back into my Philly life when I returned.

This bracelet was one of many slipped on my arm by a traditionally-dressed woman who wanted me to buy it from her while I was on a sightseeing safari.