One day a GIANT stick bug fell out of my roof. How cool is that?! It climbed right back up the wall, except for a brief stint where I tried to pick it up. Did you know stick bugs have wings? I did not, and it sure did give me a start! They can’t really fly as their wings are disproportionately small to their bodies but it does let them glide or rather fall gracefully from predators or overly curious Peace Corps volunteers. After that I left it alone and it is probably still living in my roof. I mean, I can’t tell since it’s a stick bug and my roof is made of sticks but I don’t see why it would want to leave.


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Peace Corps Volunteer Builds First Bathroom in Senegal School

Peace Corps Volunteer Karen Chaffraix is working with her community members in Senegal to install the first bathroom facility at a nearby elementary school. The new three-stall facility is complete with running water for hand-washing and will help prevent water contamination and disease through safe and effective waste disposal.

“Continued community participation is essential to the success of the project,” Chaffraix said. “Hopefully those involved will be empowered to undertake future projects and will contribute to improved health and sanitation for all.”

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Take my picture



What you see in this picture comes from a place where the road surrenders to the earth.

What you see in this picture is the reason I traveled 6,400 miles.

What you see in this picture is the reason I am learning to speak another language.

What you see in this picture is braver than you or I.

What you see in this picture could have been you or I.

What you see in this picture is a girl who will learn to tend her own garden and avoid malnutrition.

What you see in this picture is the reason I will not leave Africa.

This picture is so many things, but it was made possible because you were a great friend, teacher, farmer, or family member that believed in me.

This picture

is for you.

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New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

This piece originally appeared in full at “The Enterprise.”

The first few days and weeks in Malawi can be overwhelming. The 20-hour flight seems endless, and with hardly any sleep it’s easy to get flustered. Reading any of the hundreds of books about this continent can never be a match for learning about Africa when living here. Years ago in grade school we were taught about Africa as a continent…

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50+ Africa Malawi

Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World…in Funyula


Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World…in Funyula


“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” -Coco Chanel

I coordinated a Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World, in my local community where we focused on character development, health/healthy living and professional development. Camp GLOW is a PEPFAR and Peace Corps initiative, they hold large regional camps annually in Kenya. I applied for a grant through World Connect to host…

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Camp Sky!

So Camp Sky finished a couple weeks ago, but I’m still excited about it. It was mos def the best week of my Peace Corps service, and the most rewarding. Personally, I was taking pictures and videos for our blog to share with the world ( if you haven’t checked it out yet!) and I taught a lesson about poetry vs. prose using my ukulele and songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Bon Iver, and T. Swift. Oh also, I cleaned a lot. If you want to know more about the week, look at the blog or feel free to ask me anything about it. Camp Sky was real amazing and inspiring and made my whole service! From cleaning up in the beginning, to watching kids shine creatively, to watching them get super into activities like flip cup (with water!), scavenger hunts, the Macarena, asking questions to guest Malawian professionals, singing songs, creating songs in 30 minutes, and engaging in lessons, to seeing some use a computer for the first time, to watching them also try spaghetti for the first time (some enjoyed more than others), to hearing some students recite lines while watching the Romeo and Juliet, to saying goodbye…for now. Thanks to everybody involved…no matter how. That week was tremendous, and while our goal was to do it for the students it also did a lot for us PCV’s involved. YEWO CHOMENE

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Impromptu Malaria March

Today is World Malaria Day! According to WHO, 85% of Malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Here in Alto, I have lost countless hours on projects to counterparts or a member of their family being sick with malaria. Fortunately, none of my close friends in Alto have lost family members to the disease while I’ve lived here, but a few had lost family members in the past.

I was feeling guilty about not planning any major events to create awareness and promote prevention and then it hit me. What resource in Mozambique is readily available, motivated and for all intents and purposes, unlimited? CRIANÇAS! Kids love marching around and screaming, so I figured we’d put their talents to some good use today. I hollered at Guebuza, my 9 year old neighbor and told him to grab some friends. We’re going on an impromptu Malaria March!

We started out with an intimidating crew of about 10, 5-9 year olds, and made our way down the hill, across the bridge, to the central market. All the way picking up a few kids here and losing a few kids there, but bringing it with some serious chanting. The main chants were:



“A Rede Mosquiteira!”



“A Mosquito Net!”

“Podemos Prevenir”


 “We can prevent”


“A Rede Mosquiteira!”


 “Mosquito Net”


After a brief stop at the central market to give an impromptu presentation about sleeping under a mosquito net, we made our way back across the bridge and half way up the giant hill before we had to take 5 in the shade.  We continued on and as I thought we were reaching the end near my house, we picked up about 30 more primary school students and thus did an extra lap through the primary and secondary schools (definitely interrupted testing, worth it for Malaria Prevention!). We finished the march at my house where I passed out water and doces americanas, ”american sweets”. The sweets were actually raisins, my health police mother would be proud.

 Often, I find that my favorite moments in Mozambique are the unplanned. At a minimum, I was able to put smiles on the faces of a bunch of crianças and taught them a bit about Malaria in the process. And hopefully, the local fofoca ”gossip” of the day will go a bit like this:

- “Did you see the American walking around with all those kids trapped in the mosquito net yelling about malaria?”

- “Yeah, probably the last thing I thought I’d see today! But I guess I should use the net I was given as a bed net instead of a fish catching device.. Malaria won’t affect my family!”

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