In March 2020, the Peace Corps enacted its first ever global evacuation of over 7,000 volunteers worldwide. This, of course, included the volunteers currently serving in Thailand from groups 129, 130, 131, and the freshly initiated 132 trainees who swore in and then closed their service back-to-back. On November 16, 2022, Annalise Wood, the first trainee to return to Thailand following the global evacuation was sworn in as an Education volunteer. On April 3, 2023, the first full group of both Education and Youth in Development trainees, 49 Americans, was sworn in as Peace Corps Thailand volunteers, reinvigorating a relationship of over six decades between the two countries.
That’s the press release version. The statistics and circumstances you already know, but underlying the numbers are the stories. Sticky Rice has been the PCV-run magazine in Thailand for almost as long as the program itself. Under the name Sticky Rice, the publication was a physical newsletter in the mid-70s starting with Thai (group) 58. However, there are records of PCV Thailand newsletters dating all the way back to 1966 under many different names. Our content features narratives by PCVs, RPCVs and staff, advice on self-care and healthy living, book and movie reviews, recipes, and everything in between. Our primary objectives are to support, inspire, represent, and entertain. This publication is as much a part of the Peace Corps Thailand program as the volunteers themselves.
The third goal of the Peace Corps is “to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans”. Sticky Rice accomplishes that and so much more. Sticky Rice links together the network of volunteers spanning decades, those currently serving in Thailand, strewn out all across this land of smiles, our friends and family in America, and all across the world. If you’ll allow me a minor pun: Sticky Rice connects all of us, grain by grain. Please watch this space and bear with us, with me, actually, as I’m currently the sole contributor, editor, and steward of this magazine, but don’t intend to be for long as I attempt to build a staff, reinvigorate this magazine, and continue sharing our stories. Peace Corps Thailand volunteers have been living at their permanent sites for over three weeks now. There are 49 volunteers currently spread out across this country, their experiences incubating, waiting to be heard. They deserve to be heard. Sticky Rice lives.
Correction: This article has been corrected to include evacuated volunteers from group 129.
Kayla Kawalec, 132 Thailand ePCV, 134 YinD
Categories: Editors, On Evacuation, Stories
Wishing you the best of luck and to all the volunteers in Thailand! Very excited you’re back.
Thai 47. (1974-78)
Very very glad to see the PC return to Thailand. My 2 years aback in 66-68 (group #17) was a branding point in my life. Joining the PC was the best decision I ever made and the impression it left on my life have been forever.
All the best to Group 134… are there any PCV down south