Scott & Joan Ramos
Update: 14 Oct 2007
Rio de Janeiro (GB)
Rio de Janeiro Feb 73 - May 75
Nutrition education, Water pollution
Through a bureaucratic mix-up, we were not in a training group, but trained as a group of two, with Paulo Brasil as our instructor.
Joan worked as a teacher and nutrition educator at the Instituto Central do Povo, in Gamboa, a favela near downtown Rio. Her nutrition classes were for students, teachers, and parents, and she eventually published a book based on her classes that Peace Corps adapted in other areas.
I was part of a group of volunteers at the Instituto de Engenharia Sanitaria (which later became the Fundação Estadual de Engenharia e Meio Ambiente). I worked with a group monitoring water quality in the Baia de Guanabara and surrounding areas. Others included John Thielke, now also a resident of Seattle and John Sarsfield (both in air pollution) and Rich Ritchie (biology).
Because we were not part of a training group, we do not have the extended "family" of other volunteers. But, we served as a way station for volunteers who passed through Rio. In addition, on several excursions throughout Brasil, we met many more folks and would relish the opportunity to reminisce. We are still close friends of Karen & John Thielke (RJ 73-76) and Joelle Mauthe (PE 74-76) who live in Seattle.
We returned to Seattle so that Joan could get her MSW, at the University of Washington. She has been a social worker in several agencies as well as a volunteer for community groups, focusing on education, child welfare, and health care. For a few years she ran a women's crafts co-op with her PC counterpart. Currently she is a consumer advocate for cancer patients.
Our lives changed greatly when Joan developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in '95. She had a successful bone marrow transplant in late '98, and continues cancer free.
I worked for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, in Seattle, then wrangled a position at INPA (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia) in Manuas for 3 years. That was our first trip back to Brazil, and we stayed from 1980-83. After our return to Seattle, I got my Ph.D. in Chemistry, now working in a chemistry-related software firm.
We have since returned to Brazil twice each: Joan for a month in 1990, the both of us and our 2 kids, in 1991, and me for 2 weeks in 1992. And we maintain some linkage through a variety of Brazilian friends and colleagues. Now that a new Brazilian restaurant has opened in Seattle, with authentic Bahian food, the saudades are even stronger.
After being approached about adopting a child during our PC time, we ended up with a girl & boy during our later residence in the north. Lia, a Cearense graduated from college (psychology) in Portland, OR , and spent the summer of 2001 studying in Brazil ( program through the Univ. of Kansas, held in Vitória) and traveling around the country and to her hometown. She is now working in Seattle & has started the coursework towards becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner, Jesse, our 6-footer Amazonense joined the Marines after high school and local stardom as a soccer player. He is now back home & working and going to college, planning on becoming a certified athletic trainer, and hopes to travel to Brazil before too long.
As both kids have recycled back home for a bit ( seems so common these days), we look forward to being able to enjoy health & the empty nest.
As many of you know, we helped run Friends of Brasil during the few years of its existence. We still have the newsletters and directory, in electronic form, and have offered to help with the new effort to revive FoB. Thanks to Gene's help, the old directory is now linked to this site, and some of the newsletters have been posted as well. the Internet sure makes everything easier.
Joan & Scott Ramos