Fort Wayne area Peace Corps volunteer Emily Wild was evacuated from the Dominican Republic due to the worldwide threat of COVID-19 — coronavirus. She was advised to self-quarantine herself at the home her parents, Chris and Susie Wild, for a period of two weeks. Wild got back in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, March 18, after two-and-a-half-years with the organization.
“On Sunday, March 15, around 5 p.m.,” Wild said, “I was lying in my hammock with my laptop when I received an e-mail message from the acting country director of the Peace Corps. It said I was being evacuated and had just 24 hours to pack up my belongings, say my goodbyes and get to the airport for evacuation home. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it.
“The next 48 hours of packing and flying home were probably the most draining and stressful time of my entire life. As far as I know, this is the first time the Peace Corps has ever interrupted its work on a worldwide scale and recalled all its volunteers.”
Wild had completed a two-year assignment and was in the middle of a year’s extension and was beginning to feel like the Dominican Republic was her home. “I met and worked with a lot of really awesome people and it was very emotional to say goodbye,” she said.
The Northrop High School graduate joined the Peace Corps in August 2017 after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Affairs at Indiana University. Her initial assignment was in a midsize town in the Province of Bahoruco where she worked in a school of 500 students as a tutor focusing on improving literacy rates.
The second assignment where Wild thought she would finish her Peace Corps service was in the capital of Santo Domingo. Her official title was Spanish Primary Literacy Promoter. She worked in an office teaching new arrivals what it means to be a Peace Corps volunteer, conducting training and giving technical support to volunteers.
“I hope the Peace Corps continues to send volunteers to the Dominican Republic because we were making progress and gaining momentum. I don’t think I’ll be going back as part of the program, but I definitely plan to go back someday to visit friends,” she said. “In the meantime, I plan to see what the job market here in the Fort Wayne area looks like and go wherever I fit in the best.”