The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Peace Corps Morocco 1969, 1970 and 1971 50th Anniversary reunion
September 17-18, 2021
Hyatt Place Washington DC/US Capitol
33 New York Avenue NE, Washington, D.C., 20002-3325 United States
+1 202 289 5599

Compilations of memories and life histories by attending and distant volunteers

Phil Morrow

MorrowGreetings old Peace Corps friends. Due so some temporary but inconvenient health and scheduling challenges we are not able to make it to the reunion. Do enjoy the get together. I would love to hear some of the stories.

So where to between being a Peace Corps Trainer and drifting into a quiet genteel retirement of gardening, fishing, hinking, working out, traveling, and little bit of mandolin, guitar, and piano?

The first summer of not training I fulfilled a lifelong dream of working on a dairy farm. I agreed to work for minimum wage provided the owner taught me enough that by the end of the summer he would trust me to run the farm while he took a 10-day family vacation. The family only lasted 5 of the 10 days away but in their absence, production went up and cell count dropped. Thank you Welander family. These three months of milking cows, cleaning calf pens, and building fence were right up there with the Peace Corps experience in terms of life forming.

After earning a Master of Agriculture in Farm Management Economics and Plant and Soil Science at University of Minnesota College of Agriculture I taught one year of Production Ag at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn, WI. By the end of that year, both Gateway and I were happy to go our separate ways - but my VA funded students and I had a good time talking farming and swapping respective service stories. Best of all, this is where I found my dear wife Marcela.

At the end of my one-year teaching contract, I sold my car, bought a pickup truck, and drove to Acapulco, Mexico to get married with the hope of buying a farm and starting a family in Mexico. Farm deal fell through - sparing us the eventual fate of owning a farm in the middle of the Michoacan drug war.

After a 15,000-mile (sic) exploration of Mexico - out of money and visa time - we returned to Wisconsin. I managed a small feed mill, we settled into marriage, and indeed expanded our family. I moved on to a bigger feed and fertilizer company long enough to expand family to 5. In addition to a lot of grunt work the feed and fertilizer jobs included a farm calling, ration balancing, and nutrient management planning. I still miss the farmer contact a lot - and even the grunt work a little bit.

Tired of 14-hour spring workdays we moved to Egypt for three years (’82-’85) where I worked as a farm management adviser in the Egyptian Small Farmer Production Project. Great job. Great experience. Only foreign family in Assiut, Upper Egypt with kids. Egyptians were very kind to us.

Returned to US and worked in Madison, WI for various configurations of Cenex/Land O’Lakes Agronomy Services. I started as a territory manager and for a short time was state marketing and sales manager for fertilizer before being delightfully downsized at age 59.

I then fulfilled a second childhood dream of driving a little red dump truck - delivering landscaping supplies for a local coop. Also spent a few years doing financial analysis consulting for some of my old customers’ Agronomy Departments. I was twice the interim director of the Wisconsin Fertilizer and Chemical Association. Interesting experience but, like the teaching, not a good match for my candor. I was clearly not meant to be a lobbyist.

Marcela and I are still together, our children have refugeed to the west coast, we have 6 grandchildren and - since they are on the coast - we have plenty of room in the house and would welcome visitors.

Could go on about the great influence you have all been on me. Shout out to Tim who taught me - with the stern help of Dale ?, the Colorado training director - the folly of judging others too quickly and too harshly and to Peaches, who probably doesn’t remember but at the end of an intense training program gave me the best scolding I ever got, on the importance of recognizing support staff. Thank you all for your patience during my “formative years”.

Our traditional salute to old friends is in Spanish: Salud, Dinero, y Amor, y tiempo para gustalos. May you have Health, Prosperity, and Love, and the time to enjoy them.

I am best reached by e-mail: ptmdq@yahoo.com.

Random memories from Morrison, Colorado training:

“I’ve got this” said Brian Larson as he walked out to greet six armed and apparently angry riders wondering who this group of young people was walking across their mountain pasture. Brian played his fellow Hereford breeder card with great poise, and we were graciously allowed to continue our hike.

What was the name of the Chicano track coach who on the night of our farewell party, laid a big bill on the pool table and told the obnoxious cowboy, “Here’s the deal? You win, the money is yours and you get to stay. I win, I take my money off the table, and you leave.” We were nervous and confused. Not once all summer had we seen the coach even go near a pool table. The game barely started, he ran the table, picked up his bill, pointed to the door, walked to a chair in the corner, made the sign of the cross, and mumbled something to the effect of “Forgive me mother. I know I promised. But it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

I could go on, and so could you, so please do. We shared an experience dense time of life.


Return to Friends of Morocco Home Page

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links