Megan Kathleen Jefferies, who arrived in Kinmen as a volunteer English teacher eight years ago, has found her home away from home in the offshore county and said earlier this week that she might never leave.
Jefferies said she fell in love with Kinmen not long after her arrival. It was God’s wish for her to go to Kinmen, said Jefferies, who is a full-time faculty member at Chung-Cheng Elementary School.
She arrived in Kinmen in 2004 with five other people from the US and Canada on the Schweitzer English Teaching Program. The program was launched by the King Car Education Foundation in 2003 to bring English-speaking people to rural areas of Taiwan each year to volunteer as English teachers.
Jefferies and her US compatriot, Andrew Isaac Stewart were the only two people among the six volunteers of the 2004 intake to stay on in Kinmen as volunteers after the program ended, said Tseng Ching-yun (曾清芸), executive director of the foundation.
Jefferies and Stewart returned to the US and obtained teaching certificates there before returning to Kinmen to work as full-time English teachers, Tseng said.
Stewart’s younger brother, Lucas, followed in his brother’s footsteps and taught as a volunteer in Kinmen in 2005. Lucas obtained his teaching certificate in the US in 2010 and taught briefly in a school in Hualien before finding a teaching position in Kinmen’s Kai-Hsuan Elementary School.
While some participants on the program have found a second home in Taiwan, some have even found their other halves. Samuel Bavido, who began teaching in Chin-Cheng Junior High School two years ago, is married to Jarita Bavido, who has been teaching in Chin-Sha Junior High School since 2007.