Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is a US government organization with 3 goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. *

I joined the Peace Corps in 2017 and was assigned to Madagascar, the 4th largest island nation in the world. I taught English, because that’s where most of my professional experience lies, and that’s what the government ministries wanted.

I lived for two years in a small house made from ravinala or traveler’s tree (see below). I got my water from a well nearby; I used an outhouse; I relied on solar lights and candles for electricity after dark. But those things that most Americans are accustomed to didn’t define my service; the people, the work, and the experiences did.

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With colleagues at a going-away party, August 2019

I learned a lot about teaching and caring for children. I learned a lot about cooking, and communing, and how to be still. I also learned a lot about the reach of some countries into others’, and stereotypes, and misconceptions . I learned the Malagasy language (Antakarana, Northern dialect), I learned the fomba (culture), and the fady (taboos).

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Learning how to make mokary vary, sweet rice bread, from my neighbor and adopted grandmother

In March 2020 Peace Corps Madagascar was evacuated due to the spread of COVID-19. I was halfway through my third year. I miss it every day, and I hope, when things calm down, I will be able to return.

Below you will find links to some of my posts from my time in Peace Corps. If you have specific questions, or are interested in joining the Peace Corps, feel free to reach out to me directly in the Contact page.

Mazotoa! (Enjoy)

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Me in front of what’s been my home for the past two life-changing years.

My Peace Corps Manifesto

Packing for Peace Corps

Pre-Service Training #1: Welcome to Mantasoa!

On the Eve of Swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer

Moving to Site: Adjustments

On Coexistence and Feeling Pain

Cultural Adjustment: The Six Month Slump 

Wooden Needles

The Hardest Part

Six Months Left

Speechless: It’s a Wrap

Goal Setting and Why I Love It

Two Years in One Poem

Beginning a Third Year

*source: https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/