Resident begins Peace Corps service in Cameroon
One Shelton resident has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed to Cameroon on Sept. 15 to begin training as an agriculture volunteer.
Emily Gaetano, 22, of Shelton, will live and work in a community to improve standards of efficient and sustainable crop production.
“I was interested in the opportunity to become a part of a community in a different part of the world and to continue to learn and teach agriculture in a hands-on, real world application,” said Gaetano of her desire to join the Peace Corps.
Gaetano is the daughter of Glenn and Vera Gaetano of Shelton, and a graduate of Shelton High School. She attended The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in Sustainability Studies and Agriculture in May 2017. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she served as a camp counselor for the Shelton Parks & Recreation Department Summer Camp and a landscaper and gardener.
During the first three months of her service, Gaetano will live with a host family in Cameroon to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Gaetano will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Cameroon, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
During their service in Cameroon, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including French, Fulfuldé, and Pidgin English.
Ahead of her Peace Corps service, Gaetano said she hopes “to become independent, to be more connected to the natural world, to learn and teach as much as [she] can about sustainable agriculture, and to fall in love with and learn about a new part of the world.”
Gaetano will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Cameroon and help Gaetano develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
She joins the 116 Connecticut residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 3,442 Connecticut residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.