Man heads to Africa with Peace Corps

September 10th, 2009 by bobebill

Man heads to Africa with Peace Corps

By Theron Brittain
The Herald-Zeitung (Taxas)
Published September 10, 2009

A New Braunfels man is packing his bags and heading halfway across the world to join a long-standing aid mission in Africa.

Carl Tepe, 25, departs next week for Cameroon, a small country in the African Congo rainforest, as a trainee with the Peace Corps. He will work in what he called “agri-forestry,” teaching farmers to cultivate agriculture in a jungle setting and instructing them in soil conservation.

“I was looking to use the skills I learned in college to help people out around the world,” said Tepe, who graduated with a geology degree from the University of Texas in 2006.

He has never been out of the country but was not daunted by the idea of traveling so far from home.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “From what I have heard about it, it is an ‘Africa in miniature’ so there will be a lot of different environments that I will be exposed to. The culture will be exciting to learn about, too.”

Cameroon has a wide range of geological features including forests, mountains, coastline, and savannahs. Compared with other African countries, it is relatively stable, both politically and culturally.

Tepe is considered a trainee for the first 11 weeks. Once in Cameroon, he will serve as a volunteer for a year, something his mother, Pat, is not looking forward to.

“My first reaction was shock,” she said. “I don’t think it would be so bad if it was only 9 months, but 27 months is a long time. But we are excited for him – he has really fought long and hard on this and it’s something he wants to do and we always want our children to do what their heart tells them to do.”

Tepe said the excitement of undertaking such a journey initially hooked him, but the chance to be a leader in teaching new skills to farmers cemented his decision.

“What is really appealing is that you get to control your projects and side projects,” he said. “The whole aspect of leadership and project management really appealed to me.”

Theron Brittain can be reached at (830) 625-9144 ext. 224 or by email at tbrittain(at)herald-zeitung.com


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