Thursday, August 1, 2013

Joy's story

     My oldest cousin (don't tell her I said that) on the Stoviak side is my cousin Joy, the only daughter of my late uncle Ray Stoviak.  Joy is about six years older than I am, and lives with her family in Nicoya, Costa Rica.  The other day I was sent an article by email written by Arianna Mckinney for "La Voz de Guanacaste" "The Voice of Guanacaste" on July 28th.  It was entitled "Joy Came to Nicoya for the Peace Corps; She Stayed for Love."

     The story reveals that in January of this year, Joy Stoviak Flores was invited to the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, for a reception to celebrate the 50 years of Peace Corps in Costa Rica.  She was one of 23 volunteers who arrived on January 23, 1963 to begin work as a volunteer in an organization created by President Kennedy to reach out to many areas of the world and help people.  She had studied Spanish and upon graduating from Colorado College in 1962, she entered the Corps.  After two months of orientation and three weeks of physical training, she and a partner were assigned to Nicoya, a small town at the time with no paved roads and limited electricity daily.  Rooming with a family, she and her Peace Corps partner, Midge, developed an English studies program with the high school teachers and served as translators whenever needed.  She became good friends with a neighbor girl across the street that turned into a life long friendship.  She later married her friend's brother, Israel Flores Cardenas.  They have three children: Marco, an architect, Jennifer, a lawyer, and Israel Raymond (who I baptized a long time ago) who runs the family ranch.  They are married, and Joy has four beautiful grandchildren.

     Over the last fifty years, Joy has taught in public schools in Nicoya (which is now a substantial city) as well as various colleges and universities until retirement.  She still helps as a courtroom translator.  She also takes great delight in her family, most of whom we met at the Stoviak family reunion recently in Eastlake, Ohio (eight were up north for the affair).  In the article Miss Mckinney is quoted as saying that Joy "has no regrets, knowing that through teaching she touched the lives of so many people, some of whom come up to her and let her know that what they learned from her has helped them in work and in life."  Joy said "It's nice to know that something you did was good."

     We are very proud of her, and grateful for her fifty years of service to her people in Costa Rica.   Talk about a vocation decision that changes your life!

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