Packing List: In Retrospect, 10 Months in…

10 Months in… Here’s what I think about my packing list.
So at the bottom of this is my original packing list… Edited for the things I’d leave out. But I’m gonna list out the things that I am most glad that I have, and why… … More Packing List: In Retrospect, 10 Months in…


Resiliency – Why we need it

Resiliency is an interesting thing in the PC. You may never have heard of it before you get off the plane in your country of service. But within a week you will know that RESILIENCY is paramount. You’ll sit through hours of powerpoints and discussions and brainstorming resiliency strategies. And all the good advice in the world will be cheerfully shoved down your throat. Jk… sorta, kinda, not really.

So… does all that preparation actually help when you inevitably need it? In my experience… hell no, it doesn’t help worth a damn. … More Resiliency – Why we need it

Travel in Tanzania

Travel in Tanzania can be amazingly beautiful, incredibly frustrating, and may even prompt spontaneous – if slightly hysterical – bouts of laughter. From Corn-on-a-stick through the window, to food presented on platters balanced on the head, shishkababs of unknown meats, and a whole bag of onions… 10+ hours sitting on a bus where you may or may not have an unknown child sitting on your lap, 6 people sitting in a row only meant for 5, a chicken attempting a break for freedom out your window, or a carsick goat a row behind you… From jumping out of your skin as people hammer on the windows to sell you food when the bus stops, to peeing in a bush still in full view of the highway… But we cannot deny, we have adventures and laughter, friends and food, and we see this beautiful country as we go. This is travel as a PCV! … More Travel in Tanzania

10 months in.

Well, first and foremost, the fact that I am 10 months in blows my mind. It feels like I arrived just last week. And at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever. I’ve carved out my slow-paced but infinitely satisfying way of life in my village. I wake up towards the end of what can be termed “morning”, make coffee, go get some hopefully-fresh maandazi from the dada who runs the mgahawa, and then spend a solid hour relaxing over my breakfast, and fend off my puppy away from my food. … More 10 months in.

Home for the weekend… well, kinda.

I don’t know what it is about Bend, OR in particular, but I just get such a great feeling of “Home” just wandering around. And I always love seeing all the “Oregon-y” wardrobes. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a just a thing here… Flannels, thick puffy coats and puffy vests, eclectic scarves, fall boots, thick cable-knit sweaters… It’s just so… Bend. So Home. And I love it so much it hurts a little knowing I’m going to be leaving it in less than a week. … More Home for the weekend… well, kinda.

Don’t thank me for my service…

I get really uncomfortable when people find out I’m going to the Peace Corps and then say “thank you for your service”. First of all, while part of the PC pledge is to “serve”, I generally apply that term to military and veterans. It feels really weird to me to be thanked for something I haven’t even done yet. Second, it didn’t start out as a selfless thing for me, and I consider the term “serving others” to usually be a truly selfless act. I was running away from a nightmare of a future and toward the possibility of finding some kind of meaning for my life. I was being pretty selfish at first, and I accept that and am okay with it, mostly because I have grown past that and have different motives now. … More Don’t thank me for my service…

Plane vs bus…

Today a friend mentioned that after living and traveling around Tanzania, no transportation in the US or on a plane will ever feel cramped again. That’s not exactly a profound idea or statement, but it momentarily threw me for a loop until I had time to consider why this evening. At the time, I burst out into slightly hysterical giggles because 1) it’s so true, and 2) the fact that it is so true and that I’m so used to things now is slightly alarming and horrifying. … More Plane vs bus…

My Parachichi Mama/Goddess… and shopping in TZ

One mama’s prices are the same as the next mama’s prices. So who you choose to buy from doesn’t really matter apart from the relationship you can develop with a certain seller. When I came to my site for a short visit prior to moving to Njombe, the volunteer that I would be replacing introduced me to her favorite sellers and her parachichi mama. Now, I didn’t pay close attention to many people, but I remembered that mama. And when I moved to my site, that mama became my parachichi goddess. … More My Parachichi Mama/Goddess… and shopping in TZ

A day in the life of a Trainee – Post PST

I write this about 4 months after swearing in, so it’s definitely possible that I have forgotten some details of the trials and tribulations of PST. Or hell. Call it what you will.

Also, disclaimer… I didn’t really put that much effort into this post. It’s more a friendly “head’s up” kinda thing for incoming classes.  … More A day in the life of a Trainee – Post PST