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Bud Keith
Buying souvenirs at Mi Pueblito in Panama.

Bud Keith
from Arlington, Virginia, USA
bud@2keiths.com


Stories

Two Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Panama (March 2002)


I was born in Washington, DC, to a caring Mom who didn't finish high school, and a Dad who never quite found himself. As a result of a playground accident when I was ten, I became totally blind. While attending a school for the blind, I participated in in track as a sprinter and high jumper, and was captain of my wrestling team. I also served as editor of my high school paper, and had major roles in five fully staged dramatic productions.

I attended American University in Washington, where I found a lot of meaning in student government, and worked as a volunteer engineer on the campus radio station.

Before attending graduate school, I landed a scholarship with the Experiment in International Living and spent a summer in Austria. That's where I had the chance to learn about myself in a very different culture, and discovered the thrill and joy of becoming an international citizen. As a direct result of this, after I earned my Masters degree from Syracuse University, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps and served as a volunteer for two years in Panama.

While looking for direction after the Peace Corps, I started work on a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, and then took an unsatisfying job at a rehab center in Atlanta. When I fled back north, simply through circumstance, I became a career civil servant for the U.S. Government, and worked twenty-two years as a senior civil rights specialist in the Department of Health and Human Services. I eventually completed my degree at Pitt.

In 1975 I was introduced to cross-country skiing and the Norwegian culture, and eventually became President of an international program called Ski for Light that teaches blind and mobility impaired people to become more fully integrated in society through participation in vigorous outdoor activity. Through all the years since I left Panama, I've stayed in touch with Panamanian and Peace Corps friends, and that has led to six return visits. I've also visited Norway thirteen times, and have visited thirty-two nations in all.

My wife and I live in Arlington, Virginia

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