U. S. Servas

promoting world peace one conversation at a time…

Meet Our Interviewers

Chip Greenberg

Chip is an architect from Dummerston, Vermont

Servas Background: He’s been a member as a host and traveler since 1972- 40 years!

Interviewing for: About 35 years!

Traveled to: Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Panama, Canada and Poland

Favorite Servas Memory: As travelers, helping our host family in Wales build a life-size dinosaur as part of an anti-war protest parade

Hobbies: Sailing, Camping, Design, Working on theater projects, the Arctic, Travel and Motorcycling

Favorite Quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge” -Albert Einstein

Reasons for involvement with Servas: To build understanding between cultures

Importance of Servas: To get to know people who travel different paths

If you’re in need of an interviewer in the area, or traveling to Vermont visit Chip!

Check back next week to learn a little bit more about our next featured interviewer

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Alaia Leighland

Alaia is an interviewer in Hawaii!

1. What is your Servas background?  I have been a traveler since the early 80s.

2. How long have you been an interviewer? Since 2007.

3. Where have you traveled? Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia , Costa Rica, Mexico, Christmas Islands Nepal and India

4. What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? In Denmark, before the days of the internet I contacted host in Born Holmn who welcomed me. Once I embarked on my journey from Copenhagen I discovered it was a LONG way! In route I called them to tell them that my arrival was later than expected and they said they were hoping I would call because they had discussed it and since the travel was so far they wondered if I wanted to stay longer than the customary Servas time.  I said I was not sure but thanked them being cautious.  Once I arrived and met them I was so happy with them and their wonderful home I did stay for 4 days and truly enjoyed every moment of being included in their family.

A second Denmark story: I arrived late to a home in Copenhagen from another city in Denmark and again pre-cell phone and internet. The host was just driving away from her home,  she spotted me coming down the street and she stopped and greeted me.. “you must be the Servas traveler!” “Yes,” I replied. “Well go on in the door is open there is a snack on the table and your room is at the top of the stairs.  I’ll be back in a bit, must pick up the children.” When she returned I was still sitting on the couch in the living room. It felt so strange to be in someone’s home that I didn’t know when they weren’t there. The children took me all over the neighborhood chatting away in Danish. It didn’t matter to them that I had no idea what they were saying. Such GREAT Servas travel memories!

As an Interviewer I have done interviews in the strangest places including the sidewalk at the airport and even between layovers!

5. What hobbies do you enjoy? Hiking, marathon walking, raw food cuisine, metaphysics, traveling and spirited conversation, and most recently salsa and hustle dancing.

6. What is one of your favorite quotes?

  • Love knows neither race nor religion, just an open hand, an open heart, and an open mind. -Sharon Rothstein
  • ‘When my heart can do my thinking and my head begins to feel, That’s when I can look at the world anew and know what’s truly real” – Van Morrison
  • “There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
  • “Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all [God’s] children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.” ~ Cory Booker

7. Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? Peace and a world with boundaries and borders is my ultimate goal.. Anything I can do to spread this Unity  I will do.

Alaia is also a host so give her a call if you are going to Hawaii!

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Nancy Nugent is an interviewer in Seattle, Washington!

1. What is your Servas background?  My husband and I joined Servas about 30 years ago.

2. How long have you been an interviewer? I have been interviewing for 11 years and have had the pleasure of meeting some of the very best people who share values of peace and justice and making this a better world.

3. Where have you traveled? I have traveled with my husband to Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, England, Scotland, Wales, Turkey, Israel as well as extensively in this country.

4. What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? So many  positive Servas memories. One extraordinary one is of a host in Bristol, England. An hour after leaving him, I realized I had left  my purse at his house and called to be sure he had it and tell him we were on our way back. He insisted on bringing it to me, saying he knew the roads well and it would be much easier for him. That captures the generosity and kindness of our experience with Servas.

5. What hobbies do you enjoy? I am a very busy, retired teacher, volunteering for Servas, the University Food Bank and Compassion & Choices (supporters of the death with dignity law in WA state). I knit, quilt, read, do yoga, walk, spend quality time with friends and family.

6. What is one of your favorite quotes? This is about 3,000 years old, from the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh: ”Let your belly be full, your clothes clean, your body washed; enjoy yourself day and night, dance, sing and have fun; look upon the child who holds your hand and let your wife delight in your lap. This is the destiny of mortals.”

7. Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? Servas represents my strongest values. It has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with extraordinary people.

Visit Nancy at her home in Seattle!

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Hayden Wetzel

What is your Servas background? Have been a Servas host and traveller since 2000, and served as coordinator for the Washington DC area about 2001-10.

How long you have been an interviewer? 2000 to present. I would say I interview prospective members about every two months.

Where have you traveled? Traveled (with Servas) to Romania/Hungary/Slovakia, Haiti/Suriname, Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan/Armenia/Georgia, Germany/Poland/Denmark.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? So many!  Perhaps the dinner given for me by almost all the Servas members in Suriname (I stayed over an extra day so that I could join them), or the wonderful help given me by Servas members in Taipei to find my dear old friend there who I had not seen for over thirty years.  This summer I will attend the wedding of a Servas friend in Hungary.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Reading, history, music, religion, walking the neighborhoods of Washington (I am a licensed tour guide here).

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? When my last child moved from the house I had lots of extra space here and Servas friends from my church had long talked about Servas with me — one day it just clicked!  The friendships I have made (some long-term, some just for the time of the visit) have enriched my life wonderfully.  And the lives of my friends here, who have often met my travellers.  The informality and flexibility of the organization suits me perfectly.

Say hello to Hayden if you’re near Washington DC!

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Rick Fifield is an interviewer and host in New Orleans!

What is your Servas background? I joined Servas through Kit Senter in 1980. That was a time in my life when I could not afford to travel. I was paying off student loans and fully engaged in my internship. I had traveled during my undergraduate years and badly wanted to get back out there into the world. Servas offered me an opportunity to have the world “come to me.” I met wonderful people both New Orleans hosts and travelers from around the world.

How long you have been an interviewer? I have been an interviewer for about 20 years.

Where have you traveled? I have traveled and made Servas contact in France, Germany, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan. The list of countries I have visited is quite long numbering over 30 countries. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Central Africa and a student in France. I have traveled in extensively in Europe, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and East Africa as well as Madagascar and Mauritius.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? This was many years ago. I was a young host and so attracted mostly young travelers. A group of three young Danish men visited me when I was living on S. St. Patrick Street. They were great guys and I remember having a wonderful time with them. They were taking what I have come to know as the “southern route” driving in a beat-up car they purchased for the trip from NYC through Disneyland, New Orleans and the Grand Canyon to LA. About 6 months later I was contacted by a pair of young German women driving from the west toward the east. A similar “southern route” in reverse. I agreed to host and was very surprised to find them driving the same car the Danish men had driven when visiting me in earlier. The car had suffered somewhat during that time but was good to go for the rest of their travel to NYC. I wonder if there are other cars caught in coast to coast travel with young European travelers.

What hobbies do you enjoy? I construct buildings, make large scale earth based sculpture, paint, ride bicycles and read.

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? I continue to believe that finding connections between people are among the most important things we can do. I am not certain if those contacts by themselves promote world peace but they do create a sense of kinship which is valuable. Contact with people from outside our communities brings fresh witness to the goings on in the world that I find much more satisfying than using the news media.
I have been the recipient of great random acts of kindness as a traveler independent of Servas. I love the idea of being able to return some of that kindness through organized Servas experiences. Servas offers somewhat random access to people who have gotten themselves out into the world. My experience has shown me that the act of being “out there” is the first step in having wonderful things to happen. I appreciate the opportunity to give back some in measure of the kindness and opportunity I have experienced.

Rick would be delighted if you visited him!

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Becky Gillette

Becky is an Area Representative, Interviewer and Host! Visit her in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

What is your Servas background?   I have been a host for near 20 years enjoying about 150 guests from many different countries over the world in that time. I have never had the time and money to travel as much as I would like, but I’ve been able to bring the world to me with the many wonderful Servas visitors who have stayed at my home. This had a big influence on my kids growing up. They interacted with a diversity of people from many different countries that wouldn’t have been possible without this program.

How long you have been an interviewer?  Eight years about.

Where have you traveled?  Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Jamaica, New Zealand, England, Europe, Japan.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)?  One time I was very busy hosting a Sierra Club meeting at my house when a Servas traveler from Germany called about a visit. I had no room but he only needed a place to park his VW camper. Wolfe came to our Sierra Club meeting, and met the Fl Chapter Chair, Joan. After a whirlwind romance, they later married and have traveled the world doing Servas since than. They have told their “how we met through Servas” story many times in many different countries over the years.

What hobbies do you enjoy?   Hiking, biking, gardening, reading, environmental activism, healthy cooking, kayaking.


What is one of your favorite quotes?  If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention.

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important?   Nothing is more important than working for peace. Breaking down those barriers of culture, religion, country of origin, is not just vital to awakening a new world consciousness, but it is a blast, too. It just doesn’t get better than having really meaningful experiences with fun people. Laughing. Sharing a glass of wine and a meal. Seeing my home and country through different eyes. Learning a bit about how people live in other, far flung parts of the world.

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Evelyn Wolf is an interview and host in Dever, CO

SERVAS BACKGROUND:

I joined Servas as a host about 30 years ago.  When I was traveling to Greece, I met an Australian couple who were Servas members and that’s when I signed up and have been a host ever.  At the time, I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan and now I’m in Denver.  Over the years, I’ve been a Servas traveler, mainly throughout Europe.  There are friends I’ve made through hosting and travel, with whom I still communicate and visit from time to time.  The experiences have been wonderful and when one travels as a Servas traveler,  the cultural exchange has been invaluable and allows one to feel part of the culture.

How long I’ve been an interviewer
At this point, it’s so many years, I don’t quite remember.  Though I keep all of the membership applications, they’re stacked somewhere.  But, I’m thinking perhaps about 15 years.  And I enjoy interviewing, both in person and on the phone.  I have met a number of extraordinary and delightful people who signed up with Servas through me.
Where have I traveled?
Not everywhere I traveled with Servas.  The list of countries I’ve been to include: The entire United States, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, England, Austria, Spain, Poland, Hungary, India
Servas Memory
There have been so many wonderful memories, it’s difficult to pick one.  One that stands out in my mind is a trip to the Western part of France, near the Dordogne.  My husband and I were the family’s first Servas visitors.  They took us around to sites, mainly into caves with the hieroglyphics and paintings on the walls from pre-historic times, that were incredible.  This was a remote region where our host family, as well as the other families in the village, had lived for centuries going back to days where surnames did not exist.  We were the first Americans, believe it or not, this family and their friends had ever seen.  They were all wonderful and magnificent.   Had I not been conversant in French, I never could hae had such an experience since no one spoke English, except for a fe words here and there.
Hobbies I enjoy
Actually I enjoy too many hobbies and so do not have the time to spend on them all.  Top of the list is travel.  I’m a sports enthusiast and have played lots of tennis.  Living in Colorado, I hike and bicycle in summers and spend a number of days downhill skiing and x-c ski in between.  I also workout and do Pilates on a regular basis.  When I have the time, I enjoy cooking and always enjoy good restaurants.  I’m a music lover of classical music, opera, and jazz.
Favorite quote
Speak softly and carry a big stick.  Another is–It ain’t over til the fat lady sings.
Why I’m involved in Servas and why I think it’s important
Needless to say, I’ve always found this organization to be great and wish more people would be involved.  It offers a way to meet interesting and dynamic people both nationally and internationally that otherwise would not be impossible.  The people in Servas are very varied and from all walks of life.  It’s important for the very reasons it was founded, which is to break down cultural barriers and build tolerances to all people.  Servas provides a means of travel to people who otherwise could not travel or could not travel as extensively.  Being hosted in different countries gives the traveler an enriched experience and inside perspective of cultures and people and the traveler is able to become part of the culture.  With Servas, you’re a traveler rather than a tourist staying at a fancy hotel and go sightseeing.
Evelyn would be delighted to host if you’re in Denver!
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My family joined Servas as hosts in the late 1980′s when my children were young. It was a good way to give them an experience of our wide and diverse world without the expense and time of travel. We hosted visitors from everywhere for about 15 years before being Servas travelers, with a family trip to Italy our first Servas vacation. We alternated Servas visits with hotel stays, but the homes were by far the highlights of the trip. Our memories include sharing the cooking, hanging laundry on outdoor clotheslines, picking fruit from the orchard, and orienteering through mountain forests. By contrast, hotels were formal and even the best meals couldn’t compare with fresh-made home cooking!

Upon return to Boston I took up Italian, vowing to myself that by the next trip I’d be fluent. Several years later I took a 3-week Servas-only solo vacation, choosing destinations based on their artful qualities. My blacksmith host taught me to forge an iron rose. My woodworker host made me a tiny model of an Italian hill-town, with windows that glow when I place a small lightbulb inside. I traveled around Carrara with a building restoration expert, watching the craftsmen fabricate marble inlay floor mandalas.

Staying with a teacher during that trip I was able to visit her classes and talk with the elementary school children about America. It was just after the US attack on Iran, and the children were astute about world matters and angry about the attack. They wanted to know why I didn’t stop the war. When I asked whether Mr. Berlusconi would ask for their permission before taking an action, they understood the limits of democracy, and also the power of connections between average citizens.

This is why I am committed to Servas. At a time when the world has so much hurt and anger, Servas offers love and healing. I became an interviewer to spread the word and enable more people to serve as ambassadors of peace. This is a small gesture, but a powerful one.
My children are now grown and living in New York, where I visit whenever possible. My first grandson was born a year ago, and my delight in seeing him grow up matches my appreciation for the ways my son and his wife are embracing parenthood.
I am an architect and an artist, and have just written a book called The Accessible Home, to be published October 2012 by The Taunton Press. I also practice yoga, sing in the UU choir, and am on a dragon-boat team.
Deborah Pierce, Interviewer 
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William Grum – SERVAS Interviewer living in Oviedo, Florida (near Orlando)

I have been in SERVAS as a host/traveler off and on since the mid-1980s, and as an interviewer since 2009. I have visited other SERVAS hosts in the UK, Scandinavia, Portugal, Netherlands, most of the Eastern European countries, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, as well as several US states. I have hosted mostly Europeans, but also from as far away as South Africa.

While all my experiences with SERVAS have been good; perhaps the most memorable time was when I participated in a caribou hunt by dogsled with native Athapascan tribesmen in the far north of Canada (about 500 miles from the nearest road). This was certainly an experience that would have been impossible without SERVAS.

If you’re in the Central Florida area and wish to join SERVAS as a host or traveler, I would be happy to interview you and share my SERVAS stories.

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What is your Servas background?  20 years as an active host and traveler.

How long you have been an interviewer?  17 years.

Where have you traveled?  I have stayed with Servas hosts in Austria, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Uruguay, Wales, and the U.S. (I have traveled to many more countries and areas.)

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)?  20 years ago, my family was hosted by a family in Japan. Since then, each family has stayed with the other 3 times, and individual members have stayed 5-6 times with more to come. We have become great friends. They were also the first host to invite us to stay longer once we were there, and we accepted.

What hobbies do you enjoy?  Movies, reading, cooking, traveling, conversation, and writing.

What is one of your favorite quotes?  ”Nothing is a complete waste; it can always serve as a bad example!” Author unknown

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important?  Nations are built from individuals, and if enough individuals from two countries can get along then, so too can their respective nations. Being a people person and a traveler (rather than a tourist), I simply like hosting and exchanging ideas, so hosting people from my own country is just fine too. After all, the US melting pot is a lot like a large number of smaller countries.

FYI, each month, I post a 4-8-page essay to my personal blog, which is reachable viawww.RexJaeschke.com. As you will see, one of them (Jan 2010) was about homestays, and a number of others have travel-related content. The series on “What is Normal” likely will also interest would-be travelers.

Regards,
Rex

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Visit Carol in Tuscon, Arizona!

What is your Servas background?  My folks joined in the late 60s, so I’ve known about it for a long time.  I joined as a host in 89.  I’ve done a little SERVAS traveling, to Australia in 98, and some US visits since then.  I “inherited” being an interviewer, when my mother was no longer able to do it, we needed another interviewer in Tucson, so I took it on.

How long you have been an interviewer?  It was 1998 or earlier.

Where have you traveled?  Australia, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)?  We had some travelers from Austria, they arrived as scheduled, just in time for dinner.  When I walked in from the patio with the platter containing the meat I’d been grilling they exclaimed “You have meat in your garden?”.  We laughed and I explained the BBQ grill.  Later that evening they were showing us pictures of their home and I expressed some surprise at the size of the building, and they laughed and explained that the barn and house are all one building.  For me, that is some of the essence of SERVAS, the sharing of our lives and learning new things.

 What hobbies do you enjoy?  Dancing, reading, cooking,

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important?  I’m involved for 2 reasons, one because I believe in the purpose of promoting peace , and the other because I enjoy meeting people, and think getting to know the people is the best way to get to know an area. I think SERVAS is important I believe getting to know people is the best way to promote peace. People can dislike a country because of something in the politics or policies they don’t agree with, but it is much harder to dislike a person for their countries politics or policies. And once you to get to know someone its harder to paint the all occupants of the country or region they are from with that broad critical brush.

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Alan Lieberman is a host and interviewer in Paradise, California! Visit Paradise and connect with Alan.

What is your Servas background? My wife and I joined Servas as travelers in 1993, when we took an extended trip through western Europe with our three children .

How long you have been an interviewer? Since our return from our trip in 1993.

Where have you traveled? In the 1970′s, we lived in Micronesia and traveled extensively in Europe and in Asia.  With Servas, we traveled in Europe in 1993 (also in 2005) and in Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? We stayed with a Servas couple in a small town in the Czech Republic outside of Prague in 1993.  The couple had been teachers but because of their (minimal) involvement in the Prague Spring of 1968, they were unable to continue to teach.  The woman worked in a factory and the man drove a truck for many years.  With the downfall of the Communist regime, they were again able to teach and were very active again in teaching pursuits and also were now able to travel, and were trying to make up for so much lost time.  The description of their experiences and those times was truly remarkable.  Our two older children (17 and 14) stayed with their relatives nearby (who didn’t speak English) and my wife and I and our younger daughter stayed with the couple.  (Note: this was one of many wonderful Servas experiences.)

What hobbies do you enjoy? Gardening (organic fruit orchard), traveling.

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? Servas is a wonderful way to get to meet people and to learn about the places you are visiting.  We have also enjoyed the (unfortunately too few) Servas guests we have hosted.

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Douglas is a host and interviewer in Houston, Texas!

What is your Servas background?  Had friends who were members in the 1980s, joined in the early 1990s when I returned to my home which had space for visitors.

How long you have been an interviewer? 10 or more years

Where have you traveled?  More than 80 nations, mostly using the network of hostels

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or 
interviewer)?  The eruption of glee and giggles from a group of Chinese visitors upon seeing the Beer Can House in Houston, a folk art contraption covered with flattened beer cans and with wind chimes made of old pull tops.

What hobbies do you enjoy?  Politics, movies, stamp collecting

What is one of your favorite quotes?  Politics and travel are broadening.  Through travel you learn that others do not live the same as you do, and through poltics that they do not think the same as you do.

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is 
important?  Building peace, one friendship at a time.

Photo in the new Hostelling International-Houston, named for my late friend Morty Rich.

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Lynne is a traveler and interviewer from San Diego, CA!

I have been a member of Servas since 1999.  We first learned about Servas when we were traveling in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.  As an interviewer I have been active for about 10 years and as regional coordinator for 3 years.I have traveled to Europe, SE Asia, Turkey, South America, Central America and North Africa. 

I have had many wonderful Servas experiences both as a host and as a traveler.  Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to Catalonia in Spain.  Joaquim, my host in Girona (a city north of Barcelona) made it his project to entertain my husband John and I during our 12-day stay in the area.  He took us to the beach, to small medieval towns and  to meet his friends and family.   Joaquim also took us hiking, he introduced us to expats and his shared the cuisine of Catolonia with us well.  He was gracious, generous, intelligent and fun.  It made for a memorable trip.

I enjoy hiking, cycling, reading, listening to music and eating exotic food.  Travel is a passion rather than a hobby.

Servas is a wonderful organization that opens doors to other cultures.  It allows us to meet people from all over the world.  It helps us to understand cultures that are different from our own and allows us to share ideas, perspectives and interests.  We are ambassadors for our own countries when we travel abroad.

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Diane Baker with Magdalina, granddaughter of the 1st Servas hosts in Romania, Georghe and Elena Marinca. Photo was taken by Dennis Baker in Timisoara

Diane Baker is an Interviewer, Area Representative and Host in Corona Del Mar, California!

What is your Servas background? In 1980 I was hiking on a Sierra Club trip in the San Gabriel Mountains.  During the long dag I chatted with a woman who had traveled for a year, around the world.  She used public transportation and stayed frequently with Servas hosts.  I was enchanted!  My companion, Dennis Baker, and I interviewed with Eva Krutein and flew off on a 2 ½ month trip in South East Asia.

How long you have been an interviewer? When Eva could no longer keep up with daily responsibilities, caring for her ailing husband and interviewing for Servas she asked me to do that. Probably about 1999.

Where have you traveled? We’ve cycled in Portugal, Greece, Malawi, Czech Republic, Finland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Sumatra, parts of Canada and Hokkaido, Japan.   We’ve also traveled in Venezuela, Australia, various countries in So, East Asia and So America, plus Tanzania.

What is one great memory you have from Servas (as a traveler, host, or interviewer)? In 1999 when we went to Malawi the New York office of Servas had only one host listed for Malawi. I copied his contact info onto a small piece of paper that I planned to transfer to my notebook when we arrived.  Alas, I lost it in the confusion of tracking down our luggage, including bicycles, that British Airways left in London. I remembered that the host was a teacher in the town of Dedza. A week later when our cycles caught up with us we pedaled to Dedza. How hard could it be to find a Servas host in a small African school?  We rode to the Dedza Secondary School. No one had heard of Chris or Servas. A kind English teacher/librarian, Harry Mwalima, befriended us and showed us around the school. We noted that magazines on the shelves dated to 1979, and library books still referred to Winston Churchill as the PM of England, but the library was neat and organized. Harry became a Servas host after our visit. We noted his contact info and later helped to pay his school loan and sent books for the school, but that’s another story.  A few weeks later we were camped at a National Park in Malawi. As I walked thru camp with the Servas button pinned onto my visor, a woman called out. Demelza  Benbow introduced herself as the Servas coordinator for Malawi. She’s a nurse in Blantyre where her husband Ben was a teacher at All Saints School. She frequently writes about Servas Malawi in the International Newsletter and welcomes travelers and volunteers to come to Malawi. Due to her efforts there are several hosts in Malawi. She laughed when I told her about losing the paper with Chris’ name and address. We went to the wrong school. Turns out Chris taught at the primary school in Dedza. We never met Chris but enjoyed corresponding with Harry and his wife Annie for several years. After we met them in 1999 Demelza and her husband Ben continued to live in Blantyre, and to work tirelessly to benefit their community and the Servas organization. They now have two daughters
What hobbies do you enjoy? Folk dancing is the activity that I do most right now. (when not teaching elementary school) I’ve been dancing at festivals in several cities in the US this year and have traveled to Romania and Bulgaria to learn folk dances. I also enjoyed meeting Servas hosts in both countries. I also love cycling and hiking and wish I had more time for both.

What is one of your favorite quotes? The world is wide! I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum. -Francis Willard

Why are you involved with Servas, and why do you think that Servas is important? People!!! The Servas hosts in Orange County have become treasured friends.  I meet fascinating folks as an interviewer. Their travel plans both intrigue and amaze me.  When we stay in hosts’ home in other countries we gain a perspective that is not available to tourists.  When folks stay in our home we get an opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions, learn different ways of organizing details in daily lives.

2 thoughts on “Meet Our Interviewers

  1. I traveled with Servas hosts back in 1996. Through Europe. Italy France Germany Brugge. It was wonderful.

    I would like a few contact people here in Maine so I can get re-involved again. Maybe some interviewers in the S Maine area.

    Thanks. My email address is martinscottrogers@gmail.com

    Martin Rogers

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