Starting at age 62, nutritionist Marjorie DeMoss Casebolt (’47 Home Econ. Ed.) served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. In Margarita: A Guatemalan Peace Corps Experience, she narrates her efforts to educate pregnant and nursing mothers in the basics of nutrition, sketches portraits of fellow volunteers, and describes the harrowing effects of poverty and ignorance among community members. She also provides a wealth of detail about her daily life, from her difficulties with Spanish to her annoyance at family members who insist on keeping the radio on at full volume.
Because her story reads like a string of undigested journal entries, offering little in the way of narrative structure and thematic development, it risks losing the interest of readers. Nevertheless, those who stick with Casebolt to the end will find themselves caring a great deal about the author and the people she writes about. And that’s no small achievement for a writer.