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March 10, 2008

Woman leaves today for Peace Corps stint

DELHI _ A Delhi woman will fulfill a lifelong dream to "run away to the jungle" when she leaves today to join the Peace Corps.

Laura Christine Coberly, 25, is traveling to Senegal to begin pre-service training as an urban agricultural development Peace Corps volunteer, Molly Jennings Levine, Peace Corps public relations specialist, said in a news release.

"I was attracted to the Peace Corps because of my interest in foreign languages and cultures, but mostly my time with Rotary International opened me up to what is going on in the world outside of my hometown," Coberly said.

"I do not want to just settle for any job, I want to make a difference in the world." During the first three months of her service, Coberly will live with a host family in Thies, Senegal, to become fully immersed in the country's language and culture, Levine said.

Coberly said she spent a year in France in 2001 as a Rotary International Exchange Student so she has a good background in speaking French, the national language of Senegal.

"The problem is that in Delhi I haven't had anyone to talk to," Coberly said. "In New York City I would go to French movies and I had a few friends who spoke French."

After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist her community, Coberly will spend two years at an assigned position in Senegal, living in a manner similar to people in her host country, Levine said.

Coberly said she had been working as a project manager at an investment bank, so her agricultural skills are limited to helping her mother garden, but she said she is interested in environmental issues, so she looks forward to learning.

Coberly said she has been interested in the Peace Corps for years, but making the final commitment was a hard decision.

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