In 2002, Lucy Bassett, joined the Peace Corps and served for two years in Climentoro, Guatemala, a village at an elevation of roughly 10,000 feet. The first friends she made in the indigenous K’iche’ community were children. “When you’re new somewhere, it’s always really easy, at least for me, to connect with kids first,” she said. “They don’t care if your language is perfect, as long as you play and interact.”
Bassett, today an associate professor of practice of public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, said that in Guatemala, she quickly noticed that many of the children she met had stunted growth from chronic malnutrition. She worked with indigenous women’s groups there to promote child nutrition and learning. When Bassett returned to the village for a visit several years after her Peace Corps stint had ended, many of the girls she had befriended before were married with children of their own.