Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How cool is this?

CNN photo: Muriel Johnston, left, meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Morocco.

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday praised as "one of the best" the oldest Peace Corps volunteer in the world, an 85-year old Florida woman serving in Morocco.

Clinton recognized Muriel Johnston during a meet-and-greet session of U.S. Embassy officials and other Americans in Marrakech, Morocco. Clinton was representing the U.S. at an international conference in Morocco, during a trip that stretched from Pakistan to the Middle East.

"I have to recognize -- I just learned about this last night -- Muriel Johnston. Muriel? Stand up, Muriel," Clinton said to applause and cheers from Johnston's fellow Peace Corps workers and other Americans.

"My young staff said, 'Oh my goodness, Muriel Johnston, she's the oldest Peace Corps volunteer in the world.' I said, 'That's not the way we think about it.' No, Muriel and I might say she is one of the best Peace Corps volunteers in the world," Clinton said to more applause, emphasizing "best."

"And it's also a great reminder that in America in the 21st century, there are not only second acts, there's third acts and fourth acts and fifth acts and -- if you're ready to embrace new challenges," Clinton said.

Later, Clinton shook hands with Johnston and asked if she was enjoying herself.

"I'm having a wonderful time, " Johnston told the secretary.

Johnston is serving as a health worker in the Moroccan province of Azilal. She hails from New York but has lived in Sebastian, Florida, since 1992. Peace Corps headquarters in Washington confirmed that she is the oldest Peace Corps volunteer currently serving.

She is one of more than 7,600 Peace Corps volunteers at work in 75 countries.


The first-year health and environment volunteers were lucky enough to be at a training workshop in Marrakech when Sen. Clinton visited there this week.

I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting Muriel, but I've heard nothing but great things about her, including that she's one of the most active volunteers in her group. Time for me to stop complaining about getting older ~ look how much I have yet to accomplish!

And while I'm not a fan of everything Sen. Clinton has done (most notably her votes on the Iraq war), she has been a great role model for serious, strong, successful and powerful women.

It would have been a great honor to meet either one of them. However, despite various nefarious plots, I couldn't come up with a way to sneak past either Secret Service or Peace Corps security. Drats.

It's a beautiful morning ~ the temperatures have finally dropped into the 80s after an extended autumn heat wave. I wake to the pitter-patter of construction rubble raining down into my courtyard, the hammering of steel on concrete as a third floor goes up on a neighboring home. Time to head out into the countryside for a run before lunch with the host family. Life is good here ~ busy with classes, awash in project ideas and only a month to go before I'm home for the holidays. OK, life is more than good.

Quote of the day.

"Hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate."

~ the Buddha, Dhamapada, Chapter 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Extremely cool, I bet she's always been cool though.