Don’t join the Peace Corps

what-i-learned-in-the-pc:

You heard me. Don’t do it. I’m telling you, it’s going to break your heart.

The Core Expectations for Volunteers states you are expected to “serve where the Peace Corps asks you to go, under conditions of hardship, if necessary…” What it doesn’t state however is just what hardship means.

Right now you’re thinking, “Oh. There’ll be no flush toilets or showers. I can handle that. I might have to squash a few spiders, but for the high calling of changing the world, I think I can put up with those things.”

But the truth is, hardship isn’t the quirky and fun hardship you’re expecting, where each new day brings adventure upon crazy adventure, more wonderful than the next. True hardship is much more sobering.

During your service you might have to bury a neighbor. Or watch helplessly as your host family is torn to pieces by corruption. You might show up to school to learn one of your students was killed by a classmate. Your host sister could be kidnapped and forced to marry a man she’s never met. You might witness abuse, violence and mistreatment. You may see your best student lose to a kid from another school because his bribe was the biggest. Your dog might be fed a needle, just to quiet it down, forever.

And if none of that happens, then something else will. There’s just no knowing how hard it will be or it what way. It could be dealing with other volunteers is your biggest challenge. Or that you can never live up to the expectations of your host organization. Or that the Internet is so accessible you spend your entire day trolling Facebook, jealous of all the lives continuing on back home.

And what about all the things you’ll give up? Your boyfriend might not wait two years for you. You’ll put your career on hold. Your familiar support networks probably won’t be around – there’ll be no gym, no fast food joint, no car to drive, no family to visit. The stress and diet could make you lose thirty pounds—or gain thirty—whichever you don’t want.

The Peace Corps uses phrases like, “Life is calling. How far will you go?” and in a breath you’re ready to sign your name on the line. But two years is a long, long time and in the middle you find the world you wanted to change is a confusing and complex puzzle of which you are just one, tiny piece.

So please, if you’re not ready for the heartbreak in the hardship, don’t join the Peace Corps.

Or do.

Because you might just find that all your blood, sweat and tears are worth it – worth the pain, worth the time and worth the investment in the people for whom your heart breaks. Because you might learn some of the most important lessons of your life – that a broken heart can heal stronger than it was before, that a softened heart has more compassion for the world, and that in between its cracks and fissures is the only place where true beauty and grace can grow.

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kyrgyzstan peace corps reblogs peace corps volunteers truth

10 reasons why PC pre-service training is like kindergarten

pre-service training Peace Corps Volunteers

notrefined:

People ask me a lot about Ukrainian food. The answer, in a word, is: cabbage.
This is not normal cabbage, however. This is cabbage on another level. This is cabbage that can kill a man. It weighs an absolute ton and I could probably go bowling with it if I wanted, provided I found some carrots to serve as pins.
This guy is literally the size of my head and it was the smallest one I could find (there were others for sale that were almost twice its size). I mostly bought it to prove a point and now I’m going to spend like three weeks trying to be creative with cabbage dishes, sigh.

#also beets and potatoes!! those are also a huge thing!! #cabbage cabbage and more cabbage #this is what i shall be eating for the forseeable future #ukraine #cabbage

notrefined:

People ask me a lot about Ukrainian food. The answer, in a word, is: cabbage.

This is not normal cabbage, however. This is cabbage on another level. This is cabbage that can kill a man. It weighs an absolute ton and I could probably go bowling with it if I wanted, provided I found some carrots to serve as pins.

This guy is literally the size of my head and it was the smallest one I could find (there were others for sale that were almost twice its size). I mostly bought it to prove a point and now I’m going to spend like three weeks trying to be creative with cabbage dishes, sigh.

    

ukraine peace corps food reblogs food fridays


The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.
In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:
Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.

In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:

  • Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
  • Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
  • Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
  • Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

maternal health global health Africa women HIV AIDS maternal mortality Zambia Uganda USAID


In Kenya’s rural communities the word “single” before mother turns something cherished into a burden. Most single mothers struggle to earn money, live far below the poverty line, and are often treated as pariahs in their communities. Despite these significant challenges, providing and caring for their children is their top priority. Peace Corps Volunteer, Teneasha Pierson, shares her thoughts after leading a malaria prevention training with the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

In Kenya’s rural communities the word “single” before mother turns something cherished into a burden. Most single mothers struggle to earn money, live far below the poverty line, and are often treated as pariahs in their communities. Despite these significant challenges, providing and caring for their children is their top priority. Peace Corps Volunteer, Teneasha Pierson, shares her thoughts after leading a malaria prevention training with the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

maternal health global health Africa Kenya gender issues motherhood

Peace Corps Volunteer Emily McKeone is working with her community members and local school teachers to bring safe, clean drinking water to three schools in Zambia to improve students’ health and boost school attendance. People in the communities currently travel long distances to get water that frequently comes from unprotected sources like local streams, which often leads to water-borne illnesses and sanitation concerns at school facilities.

By constructing borehole wells, the community’s water sources will be protected from contaminants and safe to drink. The additional water supply will also support school construction projects and enable students and teachers to plant gardens and orchards. The resulting produce will help raise money to maintain the boreholes.

“School attendance by students and teachers will improve from enhanced sanitation and clean drinking water,” said McKeone, who is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been living and working in Zambia since July 2012. “The schools currently have construction projects that have been delayed due to a lack of water, preventing completion of much needed classrooms, and these boreholes will allow for the completion of those projects.”

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

Zambia water education gender issues Africa global health clean water sanitation

Today we released the 2013 rankings of the top Volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas across the country. Vermont reclaimed the No. 1 spot among states with the most Peace Corps Volunteers per capita with 7.8 volunteers for every 100,000 residents, a position it last held in 2010. Vermont also ranked among the top metro areas per capita. The Burlington-South Burlington metro area ranked second behind Ithaca, N.Y., where Volunteers accounted for 11.7 of every 100,000 residents.

California, New York and Texas continue to be the Peace Corps’ top states, and New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana held their positions as Peace Corps’ top metro areas.

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

California New York Vermont Washington DC Burlington


“Mentors build leadership skills, confidence, and gain volunteer experience. The young students are able to ask questions of peers and build positive relationships.”

Peace Corps Volunteers are working in Mongolia to promote a partnership between two local non-governmental organizations focused on volunteerism and mentorship among Mongolian youth. They’ve teamed up with an organization that prepares young Mongolian students to study abroad, and collaborated with a community youth center. By bringing their individual projects together, they implemented a volunteering program that gives young adults the opportunity to mentor children and lead activities at the youth center.

“Mentors build leadership skills, confidence, and gain volunteer experience. The young students are able to ask questions of peers and build positive relationships.”

Peace Corps Volunteers are working in Mongolia to promote a partnership between two local non-governmental organizations focused on volunteerism and mentorship among Mongolian youth. They’ve teamed up with an organization that prepares young Mongolian students to study abroad, and collaborated with a community youth center. By bringing their individual projects together, they implemented a volunteering program that gives young adults the opportunity to mentor children and lead activities at the youth center.

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

Mongolia IVD2013 International Volunteer Day volunteering community service youth NGO community

Ter is the first to point out that his story is only partially about him, and equally about the many friends and ‘family’ members who have adopted him – and whom he has adopted – throughout his unlikely global odyssey, from northwest Kenya to sunny Florida to the cold mountains of Azerbaijan and back to academia in Boston.

It is a story of kindness. And it is the story, in its elemental sense, of thanksgiving.

I’m not crying, YOU ARE!

(Source: bit.ly)

Sudan Africa Kenya University of Florida azerbaijan inspriational The Christian Science Monitor