(Training pics are full size; some more recent pictures -- with a bluish outline -- can be clicked to enlarge)


Dwight Steen
Denver, CO
1967 Training Biography

Dwight Ray Steen
Dwight, 22, received his B.S. from Ohio State in agriculture economics in 1967. He has traveled in England, Scotland, France, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. He has worked as a truck driver, cashier, clerk, and has done all kinds of farm work on the family dairy farm. Public speaking is one of his special interests . He won first place in the American Farm Economics Association Student Public Speaking Contest at the University of Maryland in 1966. In addition, he lists football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball among his hobbies. Dwight is from Findlay, Ohio.


click photo to enlarge

(1) Dwight & Peggy (2004)
(2) Dwight: Denver house patio, Dec 25, 2006;
(3) Dwight holding up Golden Gate Cable 2005

(more pics in Photos Section)

and Work

Mallco Rancho (June 1967-November 1967)
Cochabamba (November 1967- June 1969)

Peggy and I were initially selected for a Bolivia agriculture group that would have started training in June or July 1967.   However, I graduated The Ohio State University in March and my draft board (remember those?) kindly informed him that I would be in the Army by June.  I called Peace Corps in Washington and they promptly assigned us to the Bolivia Mines Group, but told me we would be sent to an agricultural area once we completed training. Thus, we arrived in Cochabamba even before the group in-country training was completed. 

The regional rep. (John Bullitt) did not have a list of potential sites, so he assigned us to go through in-country training with the Notre Dame group and subsequently assigned us to Mallco Rancho where two volunteers (Ken and Suzanne) were about to complete their two years.  Mallco Rancho is located about 20 klicks from Cochabamba just off the road to Oruro. 

After a month or so in Mallco Rancho, newly arrived Director Gino Bauman visited us in the company of John Bullitt. It was during that visit he decided Peggy and I could accomplish more by moving into Cochabamba.  I was assigned to work with another Volunteer named Barney (?) and Julio Vargas, the Cochabamba Director of Agricultural Extension. 

Both Barney and Julio were involved with Heifer Project International, an NGO that distributed quality livestock to campesinos who agreed to re-pay the program with offspring.  Heifer Project also had a technical advisor, Dr. Gordon Hatcher working out of the USAID regional office in Cochabamba.  When both Barney’s and Gordon’s tours ended, I became Mr. Heifer Project in the area.  This worked very well in combination with backstopping the Notre Dame Volunteers, many of whom were assigned to work with an extension agent in their community.


After Peace Corps, I returned to graduate school and a career with USAID (see below). 

We have three children that are an important part of our lives.  Our son Eric, born in Cochabamba in 1968 (you may recall) has become a Podiatric Surgeon serving in the Army and currently stationed in Landsthul Military Hospital in Kaisersaltern Germany.  He has not yet found the right woman and seems to enjoy being single.  He is into photography, technology, motorcycling and skydiving. 

While we were in Colombia (1971-1976) our second son Jeffery was born 1972.  He is a veterinarian and lives with his wife Lori and three children, Joe, Jessica and Jenna in Denver (this is why we moved to Denver in December 2006).  After Jeff was born we decided we really wanted a girl.  Being quick, we figured adoption was a sure way to get a girl, so we adopted our daughter Ruth who was born in Colombia in 1971.  Ruth is a single mom raising her son, Alec in Phoenix.

After retirement from USAID, we moved back to the Washington, DC area--where we lived until December 2006 when we moved to Denver.  In the DC area I got very involved in Lions Club work.  In 2004 and 2005, Peggy traveled to Honduras on a Lions Club sponsored children’s eyeglass missions in conjunction with the Arlington Hospital Center medical mission.  I am sure I will be joining a Lions Club in the Denver area soon.

In all my years in international development work, having never had an assignment in Bolivia, we had itchy feet to go back for a visit. 

In 2004, an NGO called Mano-a-Mano, which was founded by Joan White and her husband Segundo, asked us to go to Bolivia with a group of volunteers.  Peggy agreed to go (Dwight was engaged in a consulting assignment see details in Peggy’s bio). 

In 2005, Segundo ask me to accompany him on a Mano-a-Mano trip to Bolivia to investigate the possibilities of obtaining USAID funding and to evaluate some potential agricultural projects.  During this trip I was able to re-visit Mallco Rancho, the Chapare, La Paz, Cochabamba and the valley.  One could see some changes in the intervening 40 years, but also much has not changed.  It was apparent that education, while still deficient, has improved since the 1960’s.  The Internet has given people access to information and the ability to affordably communicate.  Availability of water remains the major constraint to agricultural production in the valley.  There are many areas where earthen canals have been lined with concrete, but there was little evidence of modern water saving irrigation technology being employed. 

PC In Your Life

I got the international development bug while with Peace Corps and after completing a Master’s degree, I joined USAID in April 1971.  Peggy and I served in Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Dominican Republic and Honduras, as well as one tour in Washington, DC, before retiring in 1994. 

After retirement I became one of the very few consultants in Washington, DC, working on short-term assignments in South Africa, Vietnam, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Guatemala and Colombia. 

Looking for a change of pace and a challenge, we bought a franchise and opened a retail computer store in Alexandria in 1996.  This was an experience not unlike the Peace Corps.  We learned every excuse there is for why an employee was late or could not come to work.  We learned a number of ways to scam a store, using fake credit cards, stolen credit cards, the telephone, passing bad checks and more.  Like Peace Corps, it was fun and we learned a lot.  We sold the business in 2003 and returned to semi-retirement and, yes some consulting.

Best/Worst PC Experience

Being given food (boiled potatoes and eggs) at every farm I visited until I was stuffing potatoes into my pockets when the family was not looking;
• Getting drunk on chicha;
• Riding in a car being driven by either Gino Baumann or John Bullet. 

• The day Eric was born;
• Walking into a Cochabamba restaurant with Gino Bauman and finding Kevin Lynch having dinner and explaining to Gino how he had made up enough English course tapes to be played on the local radio to cover the time he was away;
• Seeing the look on the faces of farmers when you deliver a pure bred calf or ram for them to raise.

RPCV Groups

• Advisor to the Chijnaya Foundation financed by RPCV for the benefit of Chijnaya Peru
• Honorary member of the Notre Dame Group (Bolivia 30); attended their reunion in 2004

In the Future
I will continue to work as a consultant for 2 to 4 months a year.  The remainder of the time is dedicated to fishing, hiking, biking, traveling and spending time with family and friends. 
Favorites to Share
Books: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer; Flyboys by James Bradley