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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 […]

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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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Visiting a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia – picture book

Children’s picture book of our visit to Zambia                                                                            

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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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Central Valley Peace Corps Spring Send-Off!


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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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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A Peace Corps Legacy (Fishing in Zambia)

 Today’s blog was written by our son, Matt Young, a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia.  I’ve always thought it was cool that my dad was in the Peace Corps, but being a volunteer now myself gives me an even greater appreciation for having an RPCV father. Everything I see here sheds light on some aspect of my dad’s character and personality. Everything I do reminds me in some small way of the influence that his service has had in his […]

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