My journal of experiences prior to serving in the Peace Corps and during my Peace Corps service in Zambia, Africa. Intended for my friends and family in the States and others who are interested in following a 40-something year old woman's unconventional life. ("The contents of this website are mine alone and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.")
Here is a rundown of what the Peace Corps is and what the Peace Corps
ØThe Peace Corp
is an independent United States agency which sends qualified volunteers to
other countries around the world to promote peace and build positive foreign
ØThe Peace Corps
was established March 1st 1961.
ØOver 210,000 Peace
Corps Volunteers(PCVs) have served.
ØOver 60% of PCVs
not carry arms and they do not get paid during their service.
assigned to specific countries (countries that request volunteers) to utilize
their skills to help improve the lives of the people and environment.
ØThe term of service
for a PCV is 24 months, and an additional three months of training. PCVs can
extend their service beyond the 24 months.
ØThe Peace Corps
application process is grueling; most who attempt to apply do not complete it.
ØTime it takes to
complete the Peace Corps application is 6-12 months and not all applicants are
accepted for various reasons, including health issues.
to serve are:
·Four year degree, or possess technical skills,
·Over 18 years of age.
ØPCVs are not
allowed to drive during their service.
ØJob areas held
·Community Economic Development
·Youth in Development
ØParts of the
world PCVs serve:
·Central and South America
·Eastern Europe and Central Asia
·North Africa/Middle East
ØPCVs do not
serve in the United States. Volunteers for the AmeriCorps do.
of countries served: 76.
ØThe average age
of a PCV is 28.
Ø7% of PCVs are over
the age of 50. There is no upper age limit.
can serve together.
language is not a requirement to join the Peace Corps, though a certain degree
of fluency of a foreign language may determine where a PCV will serve.
ØMany PCVs will
learn a foreign language while in training.
ØPCVs are not
placed in areas active in war.
applicants do not choose where they serve, though are asked for preferences.
ØList of some
well-known Returned Peace Corps Volunteers:
·Bob Vila…former host of This Old House…Panama, ‘71-‘73
·Chris Matthews…host of Hardball with Chris Matthews…Swaziland,
·Chris Dodd…former U.S. Senator…Dominican Republic, ’66-‘68
·Reed Hastings…founder and CEO of Netflix…Swaziland, ‘83-‘85
·Joanie Laurer, aka Chyna...former pro wrestler...Costa Rica,
·Paul Theroux…author of several non-fiction/fiction books
including Mosquito Coast…Malawi, ‘63-‘65
are several women who have served and have achieved great success, but I am
only mentioning those people most of you are familiar with.
Other things I know, but aren't found on the Peace Corps site...
The Peace Corps is a great way to see the world and learn about
different cultures, but it is not a vacation. I’m sure you may have heard the
motto: “this is the toughest job you’ll ever love”. And it is a job.
I will have to poop in a hole, fetch my water from a well, and I will
live as the locals do.
I may have cooked grubs offered to me; we’ll see if I accept in my
Many PCV women in Zambia keep their hair short, or even shave their heads!
Stay tuned to whether I do that or not.
I will ‘live simply and in community’.
I will be trained by the Peace Corps how to live in the country, what
to say and not say, what to do and not do, and how to dress.
I will learn my place in my new society as a woman.
My recruiter gave me advice during my interview (she was a PCV): “If
you are ever in a situation and you don’t know how to act or respond; do what
the women do. If they’re washing clothes, start washing something, if they are
cooking, cook something.”
The wild animals that live in Zambia do not frequent the villages. I
will have to go to the Parks to see the lions and Zebras. So, I most likely won’t
be eaten by a lion. (phew!)
I have been looking forward to this experience for a very long time.
It runs in the family. My father lived in different countries around the world
for eight years teaching English as a second language. I am about to follow in
I have plans now when I return, but coming back from living in a
place so different from my country, I can only guess what my plans will