Category Archives: Peace Corps

Is the Peace Corps Still Valid?

A US general was touring a corner of Afghanistan recently cleared of the Taliban. He was accompanied by a contingent of flak-jacketed troops with weapons at the ready. Coming upon a remote village, he was surprised to find the smiling and waving inhabitants lining the dusty road. After some trouble finding the leader of the village, he curiously inquired about the unexpected reception. The village headman just said “Where is Rick?” The general was taken aback at the request and […]


What Have You Got to Lose?

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. This quote popped into my pre-conscious mind one early Sunday morning, a time where the essential has not yet been drowned out by the noise of the day. Knowing that this was, unfortunately, not an original thought, I did some digging and found it was written by a young Oregonian who, in 1956, died at 29 at the hands of the primitive Equadorian […]

Tags: ,

Is the Peace Corps Worth It? (Fishing in Zambia)

At some point during their service, nearly every Peace Corps volunteer reflects back on the past month or year or two years and asks themselves the million-dollar question (er, well, in my case, the $280/month question): Is it worth it? Is the Peace Corps worth it for our host countries? Does the work we do really make a difference? Is bringing Americans to live in underdeveloped communities worth constantly provoking the jarring contrast between privilege and struggle? Is it worth […]

Tags: ,

Word to your mother (Fishing in Zambia)

I asked my parents to provide me with some blog post material reflections on their trip to Zambia last month and was intrigued, amused, and sometimes touched by their perspectives. Here’s what they had to say: — What was your favorite part of your visit to Zambia? Dad: My favorite part was the village interactions with the kids and Matt’s close friends like Sebastian. These are the things he will remember and cherish always. I was impressed at how refreshing was the curiosity […]

Tags: ,

Visiting a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia – picture book

Children’s picture book of our visit to Zambia                                                                            

Tags: ,

Working Yourself Out of a Job ~ Zambia, 2014

Violating the law of human nature is the concept of making yourself obsolete. It is a concept because, in much of the development world, it remains only a lofty ideal. In the corporate world, forget about it. This remains the challenge to the Peace Corps, and it is doing a fair job at it. I see current PCVs steeped in the mantra of sustainability, resisting the urge to throw money at a problem. I know how hard this is, because […]

Sacrifice – Zambia, 2014

What exactly do Peace Corps volunteers sacrifice? The first things that come to mind are physical, like pit toilets, bad water, and disease. But after two weeks of Matt’s Zambia that is a thirty-year bookend to my Papua New Guinea, I’d say the greatest sacrifice is mental. This sacrifice is 2 years of constant scrutiny, swatting down misperceptions and even outright prejudice. This sacrifice is relinquishing the cozy comforts of conformity to become the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” […]

The Visionary ~Zambia, 2014

Deep in the African bush toils a man with a plan. Wielding a sinewey frame and a vice-grip handshake, he has fleshed out a vision and has built several large fishponds by hand.     With no promise of financial gain, how many of us would toil for 12 years because of an elusive dream? Meet the host-country counterpart. This is the rare breed that gets paired with each PCV. He is the un-publicised link in the chain that is […]

The Ugly American ~ Zambia, 2014

  I have wrestled with the impact of the Peace Corps since leaving Papua New Guinea 30 years ago. Being with Matt in Zambia is giving me very fresh perspective. What can one American do? I see a five foot tall, sixty-five year old divorcee screaming out her instructions to fish pond diggers and leaving a legacy of functioning cooperatives and beautifully engineered ponds full of tilapia. I see dozens of America’s finest foregoing 27 months of their prime twenties, […]

Tags: ,

Central Valley Peace Corps Spring Send-Off!