Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida


July 6, 2015

Marisol and Gary Snow returned from Botswana to South Florida in early 2015 upon the recommendation of their physician in Botswana. Eventually it was determined for medical reasons that they would not be able to return to their work in Africa.

It is with the greatest regret that RPCVSF informs it's members and friends that early this morning, Marisol Snow passed away.

Further information will be available soon.


Dear family and friends of Marisol,
Together we mourn the passing of Marisol, friend to many, a sister, niece and aunt to family and for 15 years a wife, companion, partner, friend to me, and she will be missed by us all.

Mary came to us from a small town in Colombia, eventually moving to the USA to make our home.

She always loved Colombia, yet blessed me with her love for Canada, my home. We both were able to visit in both countries, where I met all of you, in both countries, and USA.

Our plans after our volunteer work in Africa, was to live part time in both countries, as well as USA.

Our other retirement plans were to continue to travel.

What a traveller she was! Throughout our 15 years of marriage, we travelled, USA, Canada, South America, Europe, and finally Africa, where she became ill.

She was the ultimate and professional packer, able to put two backpacks together and away we go.

Her love for the Canadian outdoors, the seasons, will always be with me, as I walk in the hills and mountains.

I have returned to Canada, to live in Calgary, Alberta, where she and I spent many months in the mountains. I have a loving family who care for me now during this sad time.

I miss Florida also, but have to heal some hurt before I go back.

Mary was no stranger to cancer. For close to ten years, she battled the disease, and in our marriage we tried to maximize the days/years together, not knowing when cancer would come back.

When it did, we were prepared and had every day together until the end.

The loss of her is great, but the time together makes all the difference.

I know I will be with her one day.

Her remaining days were spent in Africa, she loved the country, the people, and what memories of her, we all have in those days, especially the photos!

The ultimate gift we can give each other is love, and Marisol was the epitome, the ultimate expression of love, she loved the tiniest child to the aging adult.

And we loved each other.

I thank all of you who knew this love, and in return loved her. And you loved me as her partner.

Please say hello, in Spanish if that works! By sending me an email.

God bless all of you........

A service will be held in the Canadian Rockies

Gary Snow


January 25, 2015

Am in Gaborone, the Capitol, 2 weeks training for the remainder of our service. Peace Corps figures if we made it through the last 3 months, we can survive!

So, I am now the English Composition instructor in Good Hope, (3,ooo pop), for grade 7, room a,b,c, 30 kids in each room!

I have already partnered (pen pal) with a Florida school, and we are exchanging letters. My students don't have computers/ wi-fi, so Marisol copies their composition to the Internet and the Florida teacher prints them out!
The Florida students have computers so they send the notes on Word- everything works out!

Only one day a week, 30 minute classes.

So I am also computer lab assistant to Marisol who is computer teacher Thurs and Fri. The school did not have a teacher, the lab is so-so, but the kids are excited.

Her levels are 5,6,and 7.

We go back to school Feb 9, as we want to travel for a week to Durban, Pretoria, South Africa and Swaziland, a small state, of safari trips - Durban is a beach town on the Indian Ocean.

All for now, Gary and Marisol

November 8, 2014

Marisol and I are now finishing our second week living in our new town, 2'ooo pop. And are quite settled. After 2 months of training in culture and African setswana language, we are at home!

U.S. Govt gave us a brand-new 2 br duplex, furnished, but surrounded by poor villagers. I feel like the early English settler in Africa. Many ask us for money (1 American dollar is equal to 10 African pula).

We get a small salary, and use our pension to travel. PC volunteers (70) are all over Botswana, some close to cities, others in villages with no water, pit latrines, gas stoves, lamps. We have everything, pays to be a senior. There is a water shortage (drought) so some days it is turned off.

In jan we return to PC head office to present our community assessment report. This is a tool to do an in-depth analysis of the community. This is a basis for a long-term plan of projects over 2 years. My project is poverty eradication. We are funded by the govt of Botswana.
Botswana has been independent for 46 years, rated as one of the 10 poorest countries in the world in 1968. It is now classified as an upper middle income country, aspiring to be a high income country.

20 o/o are living below the line. The goal is wealth creation, and economic empowerment. My task is to work among disadvantaged individuals,orphans and other vulnerable groups.
I will be doing training programs to develop entrepreneurs in the villages. Some projects are bakeries, textiles, food catering, hair salon,laundry, leather products, jam and pickle products, upholstery, handicrafts, pottery, all in small villages, in the home-base.

Business management training will help them start a business so they can achieve food and economic security. I did this as small business advisor in chile, s.a. With p.c.
The govt will provide grants to start business.

Marketing of the products, and pricing are All skills I bring to the table.
Psycho-social support is a must. The aids epidemic left many children without parents. They are older now and need training and education. The epidemic is changing its course through development programs and model aids prevention efforts.

Marisol is doing similar work with youth groups, developing life skills programs, with an NGO
(Non-governmental organization) funded by gates foundation, pep far abs botswana govt.
Peace corps has been here since 2003 and evolved from HIV clinic work to school educ., life skills and small business.

It takes a lot of personal adjustment to go from the fast-paced, action-directed, time-management, financial pressure of American life to this.

Botswana time hinges on many things. Volunteers cannot drive -need to avoid traffic incidents. There are no cars anyways. We have to take mini-busses to grocery-shop, 1-2 hours from my town. Walking is the main mode. There is no bank, no shopping center, no town center.

The volunteer needs resilience, ability to find joy in hardship, ability to think of the long-term impact rather than day-day challenges. Results may not be seen immediately , but through my role as capacity builder, I can improve systems and perspectives.

This work suits our personality as a couple. We are retired, happy to work hard, think creatively and help others make things happen! We intend to travel while here on our days off. Check the map, capetown, Mozambique, Madagascar, Victoria falls, and here in Botswana, Okavango delta safari!

Our health is good, lots of fresh veges, meat is tough, cows are skinny from drought, lots of dust, dry 90 degree heat, no ac, too hot to exercise, good med attention from PC, lots of rest.
We are on the Tropic of Capricorn.

In closing, life travel for 2 years will go by fast (today we are buying a tv, I am reading four e-books on laptop, no wifi yet, need to find an electric pole.

Then our lifestyle moves to alternating months between Colombia, Miami, Canada, family and friends in between, Oregon, Chile and Thunder Bay.

Love always Gary and Marisol, African names, Thebe an Lesotho

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