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June 11, 1993 - Image 85

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-06-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

laugh or you cry. I
laughed, and I learned
how to live," Mr.
Pearlman said. "The
toughest part was corn-
ing back. I wasn't ready
to enter the work world.
I don't know if I'll ever
be ready."
When Beth Katkowsky
graduated • from the
University of Michigan
in 1990, she didn't have
money for the next phase
of her life — graduate
school. So she went to

Israel with Project
Otzma.
Joining other Ameri-
cans aged 18 to 24, Ms.
Katkowsky spent time on
an army base, lived on a
kibbutz, taught English
to new immigrants and
disadvantaged children,
and worked in Detroit's
Project Renewal city of
Yavneh.
"The program could
have been anywhere,"
Ms. Katkowsky said. "It
was Israel because I

Language wasn't a barrier for Josh Pearlman during his travels.

could afford it ($1,000 for
the year). I had an
anthropology degree and
no job prospects. So I
just put everything off."
Ms. Katkowsky re-
turned to Detroit for six
weeks when Kuwait was
invaded by Iraq. She
found she had grown and
changed a lot.
"I was in Ann Arbor
the night the war broke
out — not the place to be
if you support the
efforts," Ms. Katkowsky

said. "I found people
knew very little of what
they were talking about
in regards to the war. I
know I would have given
the same reasons for
opposing it if I hadn't
been in Israel. But you
cannot live in Israel,
with the threat of war,
and not support Ameri-
can troops going into
Kuwait.
"Even the most educat-
ed people didn't seem to
know a lot about the sit-
uation in the Middle
East. They don't have to.
They aren't affected by
it."
Ms. Katkowsky recent-
ly completed-her second_
year of law school at
Wayne State University.
She will spend six weeks
in Tel Aviv this summer,
continuing her studies.
"I'm definitely glad I
didn't go to law school
right away," Ms. Kat-
kowsky said. "It's too
silly to just start your
life so early. Once you
start your career, you
never have the opportu-
nities for a trip like this
(Project Otzma).
"Jobs will come and go.
School will always be
there, and the price will
always be outrageous. I
can't think of anything
so important that
couldn't wait a year."
Stuart Solway agrees.
Eleven months ago Mr.
Solway returned from
nearly two years in
Kenya. He joined the
Peace Corps after gradu-
ating from U-M with a
degree in civil engineer-
ing.
Mr. Solway was
assigned to a rural area
called Kakamega, where
he worked as a water
sanitation engineer.
Days were spent work-
ing with schools, build-
ing rain containment
tanks and meeting with
funding agents to help
pay for the projects. The
system takes water off
roofs and saves it in a
sanitary tank for public
consumption and use.
Sixteen systems were
built under Mr. Solway's
guidance.
He spent nights in a

Stuart Solway spent nearly two years in
Africa with the Peace Corps.

small, rented house,
cooking, reading, writing
letters, learning Swahili
and often in utter bore-
dom.
"I was lonely a lot.
There are plenty of peo-
ple around. But what is
exciting to you is com-
mon to the Kenyans,"
Mr. Solway said. "My
expectations were blown
out of the water. What
Americans see of Africa
on television and in mag-
azines is not the truth.
The whole continent is
not at war."
Although Mr. Solway
was eager to return to
the United States — hav-
ing missed the luxuries
of grocery stores, run-
ning water and electrici-
ty — he also was anxious
to share his experiences.
He completed his mas-
ter's degree in environ-
mental engineering and
has been giving slide-
show presentations to
groups about the Peace
Corps — how to get
accepted, training time,
what to expect upon
arrival and departure.
"It was definitely an
education," Mr. Solway
said
"There is only so much
you can learn in the
classroom until you enter
the real world. For me,
Kenya was the real
world. I didn't learn a lot
of technical information,
but I learned how to c;),
organize and manage a CY)
project, to motivate and T
mobilize people. The _—
engineering was easy. LL,
The challenge was work-
ing with the human fac-
tors. Rainfall is predict-
able. People are not." ❑

85 .

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