Elizabeth Crompton was an information and communications technology volunteer in the Peace Corps from 2011 to 2013, serving in Tanzania in southeast Africa.
Crompton taught computer skills to university students and local community members, which she said helped open doors to job opportunities and to offer hope to the people she worked with.
“I know the work I did had an immediate impact. It is a very poor nation,” Crompton said. “There, in a very real sense, computer skills is a way out of poverty. Educated people have a better standard of living, so they get really excited. They are invested in education.”
Crompton, an Etowah High School graduate, graduated from Berry University with an undergraduate degree and from Rice University in 2010 with a master’s degree.
Now back in the United States, Crompton reflects on her time in the Peace Corps with pride.
“I am proud of the work I did. First of all, I gained a lot of confidence. It will never be as hard as life there,” she said. “I was asked to do everything.”
Crompton said the experience brought a sense of adventure as well as a chance to help others.
“I was getting burned out in grad school and wanted to do something really meaningful in the world. You can’t really save the world, but you make it a little better than you found it,” she said.
Crompton is the daughter of Woodstock residents Robert and Julie Crompton, and she lived in Cherokee County for 30 years. Her father is an actuary and her mother was a homemaker, she said. Compton has one older sister, Catherine, who has a doctorate degree in mathematics and now is teaching in Wyoming.
In addition to her knowledge of computers, Crompton loves to teach belly dancing, which she started in graduate school.
“It sounded like a fun thing to try and I started taking classes in Houston,” she said.
Crompton said living in a foreign country offered many benefits, and people in Tanzania made her time there very special.
“Tanzanians are incredibly kind people. You can be lost, and they will take you to where you are going,” she said. “It is very easy to get a complete stranger to invite you to their home. They don’t have a lot but are glad to share with strangers.”
One of the many experiences Crompton recalls was doing aerial acrobatics for a village.
“I was visiting a friend in the Peace Corps, and the people in the village people were putting on an acrobatic show, so I just joined in,” she said.
But there were many other experiences that Crompton remembers fondly.
“You can drink sugar cane juice on the Indian Ocean and watch the sun set,” she said.
Crompton’s advice to others, is to join the Peace Corps.
“Anyone who is thinking of going abroad, the Peace Corps is a good way to do it,” Crompton said.