PORTLAND -- Eighty-four-year-old James Gronseth is joining the Peace Corps. The Portland man says craves the challenge of helping others and his age is irrelevant.

With no physical ailments other than bad hearing, Gronseth will take a 15-hour plane ride to Botswana, Africa.

The Peace Corps will place him with a family to learn the native language for three months. After that, Gronseth will live for two years in a village called Kanye, using his hospital administration background to help improve treatment for HIV and AIDS patients.

He says he's bringing age diversity to Africa.

In that way I'll be wonderful because they haven't met old guys like me and it's for us to become accustomed to them so we become more sympathetic to what's happening in other countries, he said. Gronseth leaves Thursday.

It's possible he could live in a mud hut the next two years. By the time he's done, he'll likely break the age record for volunteers. The average age of a Peace Corps volunteer is 28.

Those close to Gronseth have implored him not to go to Africa but he says life is for living and this is what I want to do.

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