I am Ron Hemmer, a RPCV (Thai 74, 1982-1984) who served as a Volunteer Crop Extension Agent for the Accelerated Rural Development (RawPawChaw - ARD) in Kalasin, Northeast Thailand.

I had just finished Grad School in Ō82 and because the Peace Corps had always been a dream, I decided to make the leap before I got myself settled in any sort of career. I canÕt say I didnÕt stress Š I sure had my share of culture shock Š for a while there I hated to leave my house. Overcoming that and with the help of fellow volunteers, I had a fascinating and interesting tour of duty in Issaan. I made some wonderful friends, did some decent work, and by the end of my 2 years on the job, just hated to leave.

I was able to edit the "Aggie" newsletter for the agriculture volunteers and even made a splash as a Mawlaam singer with an album and a video. To this day, I consider the experience of Peace Corps as one of the highlights of my life and have even fantasized of re-upping as a volunteer in my retirement years.

I am currently the State Economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service in Phoenix, Arizona. My primary job is in Water Resources Planning but we spend a lot of time battling droughts, fires and floods. I have returned to Thailand several times in the last five years and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I will continue to be a lifelong traveler to Thailand.