Step to Freedom

A Peace Corps Memoir of the Dominican Republic

In 1965, 24-year-old Joseph Zuiker joined the U.S. Peace Corps, which sent him to a small town in the Dominican Republic. Eager to make a difference in this poor country, he hurried to integrate himself into the community of Santiago de la Cruz. After overcoming his beginner's Spanish, dysentery and suspicion that he was a Yankee spy, he hit his stride and found a purpose to his service.

Step to Freedom is the tale of the two years Zuiker spent in the Crossroads. His tale of travails and triumphs is a story common to Peace Corps Volunteers, but also a unique chronicle of his determination to find and fulfill a mission—to get a school built.

Written in 1968 and finally published in 2005, Step to Freedom is the product of a collaboration among three generations of Zuiker men: Joseph lived the experience; his father, Francis, chronicled it; and his eldest son, Anton, wrote the foreword and published the book.

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Read the Foreword by Anton Zuiker here. See pictures of Joseph's service and his 2004 return visit to the DR here.