When she was 65, Alice Carter earned her bachelor’s degree.
At 74, she got her master’s.
And last year, at age 86, Alice, a longtime Bostonian, kissed her kids and grandkids goodbye and began a 27-month stint in the Peace Corps.
What it’s like to join the Peace Corps at age 86.
She’s stationed in Morocco, where she’s working at a youth center outside the capital city, Rabat. She writes grant proposals, teaches Native American history, and makes sure that even the girls try soccer.
But she has plenty of time off for adventures, she says.
Once, she was invited to a wedding, which she rode to in the back of a meat truck. The celebration ended up lasting three days.
She’s been to a bee farm, a public steam bath, and an oasis in the thick of the Sahara.
When her kids and grandkids came to visit, she took them to see snake-charmers, magicians, wild monkeys, and Roman ruins. They hiked and swam and rode camels together.
The food has been an adventure in itself. Alice eats a lot of couscous, some stews, and harira, “a soup that will bring you back to life.” She snacks on tangerines and avocados, and for dessert, she likes pastries filled with almonds and honey.
The beginning of her stay in Morocco was tough, she says. Her first stop was the small, chilly town of M’Haya, where, along with a few other volunteers, she underwent three months of rigorous language and culture training. They were in class all day, had loads of homework, and slept in houses with squat toilets and no heat.
But, Alice says, the family who hosted her was kind and welcoming, and they did their best to keep her warm with hot-water bottles and thick, heavy blankets.
Once she got her assignment near Rabat, she settled into a modern apartment with everything she could possibly want, including an energetic Moroccan roommate who insists on doing her shopping and cooking. In Morocco, Alice was told, old people don’t fend for themselves.
Her Peace Corps term will end in April 2017, at which point she’ll spend some time in Italy with one of her granddaughters before coming home.
She’s tired of the cold and snow in Boston, though, and intends to start a new life in Corvallis, Oregon not long after her return.