“I was absolutely ecstatic. This has been a dream of mine ever since I finished high school,” said Campbell Martin, 23, of Sonoma, California, who applied last summer after graduating from UCLA and is scheduled begin serving in June as a primary teacher/trainer in Gambia. He still needs medical and legal clearance.

The Peace Corps will start sending volunteers overseas again in mid-March after it evacuated them from posts around the world two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government program announced Thursday, AP reports.

An initial group of new volunteers and those who were evacuated in March 2020 as the coronavirus began to spread across the globe will go to Zambia and the Dominican Republic this month, according to a Peace Corps statement.

The Peace Corps plans to return volunteers to their posts throughout the year, based on the number of COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity in the host country and the Peace Corps’ ability transport volunteers to medical evacuation centers if there’s an emergency. It is currently recruiting for 24 posts.

“Over the past two years, our primary goal has been to return volunteers to the more than 60 countries that are enthusiastically awaiting their return. And, we have weathered the waves and variants of the COVID-19 situation at each post and reengineered Peace Corps systems, policies, and procedures to align with today’s reality,” Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn said.

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