One Month Countdown…

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Today, June 3rd, puts me just shy of one month until my Peace Corps Staging event (July 4th) and very close to my flight to South Africa (July 7th). After a conference call yesterday with Peace Corps South Africa staff and receiving detailed information for further preparations, and even a schedule for my first week in country, things are getting very real.

Suddenly, I’m trying to imagine my life in Africa, wondering how I will manage the challenges that even small daily tasks are certain to become, and anxiously anticipating finding out if I will be studying IsiZulu or Setswana. As I desperately try to gain an understanding of what the next two years hold, I am voraciously reading anything I can get my hands on; Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to FreedomThe Power of One, and Kaffir Boy among others. These books, and the instagrams and blogs of current volunteers currently form the basis for my understanding of the Rainbow Nation and incite an eager willingness to dig in to life in South Africa.

One month from now I will be loading up my bags, spending one last night in my own bed, taking one final yoga class, and snuggling with my dog, Shadow in anticipation of embarking upon my biggest adventure to date. One month from today, I will be asking myself, where did the time go? who will I be when I return to California? and of course, most importantly, how am I going to sit on a plane for close to 15 hours?

P.S. I also have an address now! If you want to send me snail mail during training, hop on over to the contact me page for info on how to do so!

Why Peace Corps?

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Many people don’t understand, and some never will understand the draw of moving to a foreign country for 27 months to work with underserved communities and contributing to participatory development projects. Quizzical looks cross their faces…so you want to live in a hut? there won’t be any running water or electricity? My honest answer is that I don’t know yet. While I know I’m headed to South Africa in early July, the nature of my experience remains a mystery, my site placement will remain unknown until I near the end of training, and the experiences I encounter will certainly differ from those even current volunteers know.

Peace Corps is something I initially considered upon returning from serving as a Phoenix Sister Cities Youth Ambassador to Chengdu, China the summer before my senior year in high school. At that point, I was determined to pursue a career that would enable me to work internationally, though in what respect I remained unsure. Over the course of my college career, I expanded my international experience through study abroads in Brazil and Chile, volunteering in Ecuador, an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Suriname, and all complemented by the pursuit of a degree in Global Political and Economic Development. These experiences combined with the exposure to returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) heightened my desire to serve as a PCV.

The nature of Peace Corps allows for development on a personal and maybe even community level, but when the efforts of those involved are combined globally, enables real improvements. I’m not naive, I don’t expect to change the entire world over the course of my service, but I do hope to make an impact on those around me, to encourage pursuit of secondary and maybe even higher education or to instill a love of reading or running in a child who feels they lack these abilities. During my service, I expect for my community members to impact me as much if not even more so than I can possibly impact them, but these interactions will contribute to a future in development or diplomacy, in which there is the potential to make greater waves.

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