The Norman Transcript


November 27, 2008

Norman High School graduate finds calling with Peace Corps

Kelly Guthrie, born and raised in Norman, caught a travel bug from her uncle and after graduating from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., she knew she wanted to go abroad again.

She had studied Spanish and wanted to experience a new culture, try new food and see how other people live.

An alumna of Wake Forest told Guthrie about the refugees in Haiti and suggested she join the Peace Corps. Guthrie looked into it her senior year and by May she was accepted into the Peace Corps.

Guthrie has never been to South America and she wanted to use the Spanish she learned. She asked the Corps but said she would go where they needed her the most.

So she was sent about as far away from South America as can be -- Ukraine.

"Ukraine has the biggest Peace Corps," Guthrie said. "There were 300 volunteers there when I started."

She left the United States in September 2006. She and 107 others were in the capital, Kyiv, for three months in different training groups. The groups were housed in small towns around the city.

Guthrie was nearly one and a half hours away in Kozolets. She lived with a widow and her mother. Guthrie spoke no Ukrainian and they spoke no English. Dinner conversation was tried for about two minutes, she said, then everyone would be frustrated.

"After three or four weeks, she knew what I wanted and it was better," Guthrie said.

Guthrie learned Ukrainian and understands Russian although she doesn't speak Russian.

The group was stationed at their permanent sights two days from Christmas, Guthrie's first away from family. Christmas in Ukraine is Jan. 7.

"So Christmas (Dec. 25) meant nothing to our host families," Guthrie said. "My family got a Christmas tree from a tree farm and we had our Christmas in September before I left."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014

  • Keep toddler’s hair short to help end hair-pulling habit

    Q: Since our daughter, now 2 years old, was born, we have lived with my parents. Being the first and only grandchild, she has been the center of attention. Several months ago, our son was born and we moved into our own home. Almost ...

    July 18, 2014