Category Archives: Zambia

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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Just like netting the ponds back home (Fishing in Zambia)

  Today’s blog was written by our son, Matt Young, a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Last Friday and Saturday I helped my counterpart Sebastian harvest several of his ponds. Together with four of his sons we seined eight ponds, grading and restocking over 500 fish in order to update existing create new inventory records. (It might not look like it from the pictures, but yes, I did actually go into the water and do work when I wasn’t pulling camera duty). […]

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It takes work (Fishing in Zambia)

Today’s blog was written by our son, Matt Young, a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Exactly 23 years ago today my amazing mother was born. (Yes, she had me at the tender age of negative-2 — don’t judge.) Over the past few days I’ve been helping my mom work on the website, Little House on the Fish Farm, my parents’ foray into the up and coming new world of agrotourism (read: sustainability-minded yuppies spending their precious few vacation days learning about […]

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10,000 hours (Fishing in Zambia)

Today’s blog was written by our son, Matt Young, a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours. -Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success 10,000 hours is a lot of time. By this benchmark, it will take me approximately 821 years to become an expert at peeing while standing up. Longer if my target is a hole the size of my chimbusu. 10,000 hours […]

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