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


Pat Edwins (Harcourt)
San Diego, CA


click photo to enlarge

(1) (2) (3)
(1) Recent Photo, 2004
(2) With friend on Huayna Picchu above Macchu Picchu on a vacation during my service (See below).
(3) Amelia Cortinas (deceased) and I during training inWashington, July 1969.
and Work

La Paz 12,000 ft. (from October 1969 to January 1971)

  • Training in
    • Washington, D.C. (Jul 69)
    • Escondido, CA & Tijuana, Mexico (Aug-Sept 69)
  • Part-time teacher to about 90 indigent girls (ages 4 thru 17)
  • Secretary to PC Deputy Director (duties included typing letters to draft boards to keep PCVs in their jobs in Bolivia).
  • Married a Bolivian.
Before & After


  • Born in Central California.
  • Raised in suburbs of Los Angeles.
  • Earned A.A. Degree in Business (Alpha Gamma Sigma). 
  • Worked 3 years in private industry before joining Peace Corps. This was during the Viet Nam war and this was my way of hopefully changing the world for the better
  • Upon leaving Peace Corps service moved to San Diego, CA in 1971 to resume working in private industry. One child. Divorced. While raising a young son, took college education classes (mostly Accounting) and worked full-time. 
  • Worked a total of 14 years in Business Administration/Finance for private industry (medical, mental health, education firms) and another 18 years in education at University of California (the majority at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus).
  • Remarried. Became Pat Edwins. Husband now deceased.
  • Will continue working in education three more years until a well-deserved retirement.
  • Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese (some).


  • Most of United States (including Alaska & Hawaii);
  • Bolivia (La Paz, Altiplano, Lake Titicaca, Isla de la Luna, Tiahuanaco, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Yungas);
  • Peru (various locations including Cuzco, Saqsaywaman, Macchu Picchu, Puno);
  • Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Playa de Copacabana, Santos, Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso and interior);
  • Other Countries: Northern Chile; Guatamala, Belize, Honduras; and Mexico (Yucatan); and Canada.


  • Snorkeling, walking, aerobics, photography, square dancing,
  • Gardening, playing cards & board games.
  • In retirement plan to spend a lot more time on these, travel and volunteering.

My daring/stupid side:

  • Climbed Huayna Picchu;
  • Was a passenger on an ultra-light (before FAA approval);
  • Took a dip in the icy Andes-fed Lake Titicaca (elevation 13,000 ft.);
  • Had a fling with a spy;
  • Slept in a jail (not as a prisoner) in the boonies of Peru;
  • Traveled mostly solo.

PC In Your Life

Being in Peace Corps widened my horizons. Living in the ‘States’ it was easy to have tunnel-vision. Upon return from Bolivia I found myself analyzing what wasn’t being reported in the news and how the stories had viewpoints which I now perceived as slanted. I am grateful for this expanded view of the world.

I am also grateful for having learned and practiced Spanish as I’ve been able to use it in my employment and personal life here in San Diego. You could say Peace Corps was part of my life because while in La Paz, I married a Bolivian national*. Settling back into the United States we experienced the prejudices of society as they were at that time.

Part of my efforts to accomplish the Third Goal of Peace Corps was with the San Diego County chapter of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. As their President for 4 years (late 70s), we had community outreach activities and speakers such as the national Peace Corps Director. I am currently a member of the San Diego Peace Corps Association.

I never take hot showers for granted anymore. I’m still tickled to have a fridge and hot water heater. But underneath that, I have a deep appreciation for other cultures, their viewpoints, and their accomplishments.

My only regret is that I was not able to serve in a capacity that directly affected the Bolivians. I am envious of my co-volunteers. Because of the unique nature of my position, I wasn’t able to train as 'part of a group’. As a volunteer I would have been much happier being part of a co-op or immunization team. I am thankful to Fred Caploe and Gino Baumann for allowing my request to take part of my day to work at a nearby orphanage. That was what made my Peace Corps experience worthwhile.

*Special thanks to Gino & Fred for being ‘godfathers of the rings’ for my wedding.

Best/Worst PC Experience

Seeing the eager, smiling faces of the girls where I taught for one hour a day. They were always so welcoming. These native Bolivian girls ranged in age from 4 thru 17. It was known as a 'reform school' but I can't imagine any of them being a menace to society. Many had been picked up for just stealing bread.

There were more than 90 of them and their one-room sleeping area consisted of bunk beds that were so close it seemed like little more than 6" apart. They bathed in the dirty, icy main La Paz river that flowed thru the city & the school.

What do you do with 90 girls, a small school room and one hour a day? All I could do was divide them up by age groups of approximately 20 and teach one group a day. I was very limited on supplies and did the best I could with craft stuff for the younger ones and teaching recipes to the older ones who would soon become maids.

When I first started at the school the only other training they received was a few hours each day of religious training by the nuns. Later Leslie Fisher (the wife of our Peace Corps doctor) started teaching an hour a day as well.

Although my experience, training and schooling had been in office work, my heart was into doing more than pounding a typewriter. The time with those girls gave a wonderful meaning to my Peace Corps experience.

When the leftist government take-over began in October 1970, I was living on the 2nd story of a 2-story building across from Bolivia's main prison in La Paz. Besides the riots, over-turned burning cars and the throwing of molotov (sp?) cocktails in front of the University... living across the plaza where political prisoners were being held created it's own frightening scenarios.

On every corner of the plaza were check-points of military trucks & Bolivian soldiers armed with machine guns... bullets draped across their chests. Just to get something to eat I had be cleared by these soldiers to leave and return to the 'zone'.

As you know most Bolivian homes had interior patios. The windows of my tiny room were very close to our patio (where I washed clothes). With the prison across the plaza, I could hear the bullets of the small planes overhead that were making their strifings in an attempt to free the political prisoners. This unnerved me to no end.

Each day of the almost week-long coups I called the Peace Corps headquarters where I worked to see if the office had re-opened but was always told to stay away. During one of those calls I learned that the office had been ransacked, the Ham radio stolen, and other damage done.

Over the radio the leftist dictator 'want-to-be' was spouting threats... including his summation that Peace Corps Volunteers were really CIA spys. With the ransacking of the headquarters I just 'knew' they had obtained our locations from the PC addressbook that was sitting on the receptionist's desk. As one of the few volunteers living in La Paz, my fear was that they would find me, take me to the nearest wall, and shoot.

That dictator, as you know, became the next Bolivian president and would be ousting Peace Corps from Bolivia in less than four months. Without doubt you could say this really was my worst PC experience, and perhaps yours.

RPCV and Other Groups

  • Advisory Board Member to Business Dept. for Cerritos College (1966-69)
  • President, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of San Diego County (1976-80)
  • Charter Member, Pier Review Toastmasters (1994-96)
  • Chairman, Square dance Club
  • Chairman, Women's Club
  • Member Sierra Club
  • Member San Diego Peace Corps Association
  • Facilitator and organizer of Aug 07 RPCV-Bolivia Estes, CO, conference

In the Future
A well-deserved retirement in 3 years which will include volunteering, consistent exercise, travel, gardening
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