I Had Servants Once: Peace Corps Volunteer Tells All


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Body builders. Municipal government leaders. Malarial mosquitoes. Lions. A sleeping bag in the mountains of Afghanistan. A boutique hotel in Switzerland. Maid in a Taos household.Consultant to international institutions. Even law school.

Kristina Engstrom takes us on a life-long journey across the world, little knowing that, in the process, she might become a compassionate human being. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, she taught the children of subsistence farmers and gold miners in village schools. That led to a headquarters job in Peace Corps/Washington, which in turn took her to Afghanistan, and from there Uganda, Indonesia, Guam, Estonia, Jackson Mississippi, and beyond. Along the way, she meets ambassadors, celebrities, politicians, and leaders in public health. Behind the big themes is a woman of uncommon humility, blessed with a dry wit and a talent for knowing what to take seriously, and what to laugh about. We see ourselves, as she observes herself, without adornment, and with a wry, let’s-not-get-too-big-for-our-britches sensibility.

I Had Servants Once is an exploration of educational improvement and disease prevention as it is happening in various places around the globe; beyond that, it is a marvelously detailed, often hilarious, story of the coming of age of a world citizen.

Kristina Engstrom now resides in Amherst, Massachusetts, after spending a career in international public health and development. This is her first memoir, a welcome break from writing technical manuals, guidelines, and reports for public and private organizations.

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in
Levellers Press