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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brent Spencer, on his

Peace Corps assignment Spencer, 26, of West Jordan, recently finished a 27-month Peace Corps assignment in Bolivia. Halfway through, he met and married a Bolivian woman, Jhovana.

I lived in a little village of 200 people. I went down there to help them organize their water cooperative. I also worked on a reforestation project planting trees with kids from the school.

I got married while I was down there, so my second year was with my wife. At night we turned our house into a little school - sort of a night school where the kids could come. We had a computer so we taught computer classes. I studied geography in college so I taught geography. And we read to the kids because they don't read very much.

I just got back. I think the hardest thing to adjust to is the materialism we have here. You're just so used to getting by with what you have, and then you come here and there's 10-lane highways, cold air-conditioning everywhere. And there's a lot of waste that goes on. Those big green garbage cans we have here? In the two years I was in Bolivia, I probably filled up one of those. Here, every week you fill one.

One of the hardest things for [Jhovana] to get used to is escalators; she had never seen an escalator before. She was having a hard time stepping on to it. She's getting used to some of the conveniences we have.

We plan on being back and forth between Bolivia and here for the rest of our lives. We don't know exactly what opportunities are going to come up, but I'd like to go down there and be a college professor at the university.

- As told to Dan Nailen

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