Earl “Buzz” Welker
UCLA Affiliation: Trained
Country of Service: Nigeria
Years of Service: 1962-1965
The Peace Corps exposed me to the world and to a wealth of experiences that are and were possible. I had always wanted to be a teacher and my teaching assignment in Maiduguri reinforced that desire. My students in Maiduguri were enthusiastic, determined and amazingly warm and patient with a young American. They and the rest of the staff at the College furthered my personal growth in understanding my own shortcomings. In training at UCLA I began to confront the biases and prejudices that I had more or less ignored. My years in Maiduguri firmly placed me on a path of learning that humanity can and should be color blind and that all people are basically the same. Peace Corps experiences were without exaggeration some of the MOST important of my life and I shall be forever grateful for being given the opportunity to have been a volunteer.
It was during my service in Nigeria that President Kennedy was assassinated. Like most Americans of a certain age, that tragedy will be forever seared in my memory and as a Peace Corps Volunteer thousands of miles from home, the horror and pain of November 1963 were almost more than I could bear.