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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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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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Casper the friendly goat with her three kids.  They are about four hours old in this picture.   Here she is on the 4th of July.  She was huge!    


Upcycled Dog House

  I love it when John creates something wonderful and useful out of stuff  lying around the farm.  His latest creation?  A 40″ x 40″ dog house constructed from upcycled materials. John tweaked a design he found on the web. A friend gave us the plywood, cedar fencing and louvered door.   The roof opens to reveal a secret compartment to store dog food. The project took two days to complete (and a couple of bandaged fingers!). Total cost = […]

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Central Valley Peace Corps Spring Send-Off!


Building with reclaimed barn wood

One of the main philosophies on our farm is utilizing local resources. This is mostly out of economic necessity. The price of building materials is often prohibitive if you are trying to make a new venture pay for itself. Our foray into small livestock coincided with a fortuitous procurement of one hundred year old barn wood. Better yet, we were able to make a trade.  We received two loads of barn wood in exchange for fishing privileges. When we started […]

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