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


Peggy Steen
Denver, CO
1967 Training Biography

Margaret Jo Steen
After receiving her R.N. certificate from Christ Hospital School of Nursing, Cincinnati, Ohio, Margaret continued as a nurse at Ohio State University Clinical Research Center and at the University Hospital. Her skill in piano playing has won her recognition as an accompanist for glee clubs and choirs. She also likes cooking and sports, especially basketball, volleyball, swimming, and hiking. Margaret also likes working with children, reading, and sewing. She is 22 and from Van Buren, Ohio.


click photo to enlarge

(1) Dwight & Peggy 2004;
(2) Peggy getting her ears pieced by Patty Langan at Camp Armac;
(3) Peggy and Sister Stephanie, her boss at the Nursing School taken on Peggy's visit to Bolivia in 2005; (4) Peggy translating during the inauguration of a Mano-a-Mano health center in 2005.

and Work

Mallco Rancho (June 1967-Nov 1967)
This turned out to be two great months of ‘real life” cross-cultural experience in rural Latin America.

Cochabamba (Nov 1967-July 1969)
I worked at Elizabeth Seton Hospital School of Nursing with American nuns from the order of the Daughters of Charity. My main responsibility was to develop and teach a Public Health education course for the first senior class.  Our unplanned PC baby, Eric, was born during nursing school break in November 1968


Dwight, Eric and I moved to Massachusetts after Peace Corps. I worked as Evening Charge Nurse at Belchertown State School for the Mentally Retarded and Physically Handicapped while Dwight studied for his Master’s Degree.

We moved to Bogota, Colombia, with the USAID after Dwight’s graduation in 1971. Our second son Jeff was born in Colombia in 1972, and we adopted our daughter Ruth there in 1974. We lived in Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Washington, DC, Dominican Republic, and Honduras during Dwight’s 23 year career.

After we retired to the DC area, I took courses at our local community college, traveled with Dwight on his consulting “gigs”, and got involved in volunteer activities. I gave up that easy life when we bought a Computer Renaissance franchise in 1996. Owning our small retail business was a great adventure and very rewarding. It was also tiring,  so we sold it after six years. 

In 2004 I accepted a job in health education/promotion through Hispanic churches in Northern Virginia. I also completed a course in Parish (Faith Community) Nursing during this time. We moved to Denver several months ago and I assume to find a job in Parish Nursing after we get settled here. 

I returned to Bolivia in 2003 on a visit coordinated by Mano a Mano, an impressive non-profit organization started by Segundo and Joan White Velasquez. I traveled in-country on this trip much more than when I was a volunteer (too busy with Baby Eric then!) and I was awe-struck by the natural beauty of the country. Nearly forty years later, rural Bolivia remained much as  I remembered. Although Cochabamba has grown and changed, I was sad to see that the Mano a Mano health units are dealing today with the same public health issues we addressed in 1967.

I also visited Sister Stephanie Murray, my supervisor and director at the School of Nursing during my PC years. When the nursing school was taken over by the government in 1971, Sister Stephanie stayed in Bolivia to eventually organize a program for street children called Amanecer.  Bolivian friends refer to Sister Stephanie as the “Mother Theresa” of Bolivia. I’m thankful I had an opportunity to see her again before her death in 2006.

Hobbies? Puzzles and reading, cooking at home and eating out, music and theater, family and friends…I’m always game to try something new.

PC In Your Life

My health background, strengthened with PCV Spanish language and cultural skills, provided me opportunities for interesting jobs in our nomadic life. I worked as a Registered Nurse in the health units at several Embassies as well as the State Department in DC. In El Salvador I worked with PCV training and as Interim APCD for Health. I also did some short-term consulting for AID health projects and worked in a  variety of health education projects.

Many of my volunteer activities allowed me to use my PC language and cultural skills. One of my favorites was serving with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) as an advocate for three Latino brothers taken from their home because of allegations of abuse and neglect. I’ve also been involved in medical and vision missions in Latin America as well as mission trips with our church youth group on Appalachia Service Projects.

Best/Worst PC Experience
  • Special memories from training:
    • Pat Langan piercing my ears for me.
    • Jeff Fletcher’s flute music soaring through the mountain air during a hike to some beautiful spot in Washington.
    • Relaxing while David White played his guitar and Joan sang our favorite folksongs of the 60’s.
    • Crying in frustration as I tried to learn Spanish.   
    • Feeling sorry for the handsome Spanish instructor who had a bad lisp….what did I know about “real” Spanish from Spain? Or did he really have a lisp?
    • Sequim, Washington, and our community development weekend adventures, especially eating freshly-caught Dungeness crab for the first time with the Methodist minister’s family.
    • Seeing Carol Doda "live and in action” at The Condor Club, a San Francisco strip joint, on the first leg of our travel to Bolivia

RPCV Groups

In the Future
Dwight and I like to travel together, and we especially like “road trips” in the USA with our tent and bicycles. Our travel style is “serendipitous”, i.e. we head off in a general direction and find the adventure along the way to our destination. I guess that’s the story of our life
Favorites to Share
Websites: http://ww.manoamano.org and http://ww.amanecer-bolivia.org