1. Kiribati The Girl Sickness

    A long time ago there was a very smart woman somewhere in Kiribati who told all of the men that when she had the "girl sickness;" she shouldn't wash, cook, or clean out of fear of contaminating things.  Well, at least that is how I imagine the custom came about.  However, that wise woman overlooked one thing... now all the young girls had to tell everyone when their time came for the monthly visitor.  And thus began another tradition of having a village celebration on the 3rd day of a girl's ...

  2. Samoa See The World

    I was supposed to leave the country, but it wasn’t looking good, being 120 feet in the air surrounded by dozens of police and firemen straining their necks to see me. It went down like this:After living it up one night, I sat alone on my front porch pondering a life of tomorrows because my departure was imminent. An adventurous, altruistic pursuit below the equator had beckoned to me. I was 24 years old, and felt hesitant to leave the hometown I knew so well for so much of the unknown. Sunset...

  3. Sierra Leone Meeting The Prime Minister

    We arrived in Sierra Leone shortly after the country had received its Independence from Great Britain. My roomates, Jim Sheahan and John Weinberg and I were all teaching at secondary schools in Freetown, the capitol city. One evening after school was over, we went to Lumley Beach for a swim. The beach was empty except for some Ghanian fishermen pulling in their nets. A short time later, two vehicles pulled up and parked behind a group of tall palm trees. A group of people got out and beg...

  4. Ukraine Um, so, how was it?

    In the almost six years since I finished my Peace Corps service in Ukraine, I've thought a lot about what it all meant. Peace Corps as an organization often poses the questions: "What does your Peace Corps service mean to you?" or "How has you Peace Corps service impacted you life?" However, the question I've most been asked since I returned five years ago is: "Um, so, how was it?" A pretty impossible question to answer, actually. How to explain that you experience your highest highs ...

  5. Venezuela My Peace Corps Reflections

    You might say I was one of the first Peace Corps volunteers, even though I just missed being counted among the first 1000.  I served in Venezuela as part of an agricultural extension project, during the period 1962-64.  As a Volunteer Leader, I supervised 19 Volunteers at 13 sites throughout six states.  The project’s main purpose was to develop 4-H Clubs (called 5-V in Venezuela), and provide the youth with techniques in agriculture and home economics. Prior to our departure from Washin...

  6. Fiji Farewell to Fiji

    Fijians love to eat.  Fijians also love to farewell.  It was only natural that the two would be combined as my close of service neared.  For the last two weeks I was in my village I did nothing but eat my way around the tikina (district).  One of the most memorable feasts came on my last Wednesday, a day I had hoped would find us in the deep ocean, under a bright hot sun, gazing into water so blue it made the sky pale in comparison.  Instead, as happens to all good plans during Peace Corps, ...

  7. Sierra Leone Going Home

    In September 1964 I arrived at Harford Secondary School for Girls in Moyamba, Sierra Leone where I was assigned as a Peace Corps Volunteer to teach music and French. I was 22 years old and had just graduated from college. This was my first time out of the country and my first “real” job. The two years at Harford were filled with learning, adventures, and wonderful new friends among the staff, students and townspeople. When my assignment was finished and I left in July 1966 I was in tear...

  8. Morocco The Nicest Man in Morocco

    The nicest man in Morocco works in a carpet shop in Azrou, in the Middle Atlas Mountains.  His father, Moha, owns it and is often there – he’ll go to the various souks and buy the one-of-a-kind antique rugs, he’ll purchase the rugs from the women or middlemen who come by with rugs to sell, he’ll take care of the important customers those who had been in before and were returning to close a big deal.  Abdou, the son, is in the shop all the time – it’s open from not-too-early in the morning unt...

  9. Morocco The Ring

    I have been anticipating the past 24 hours because of the beginning of Ramadan. I decided that I would fast, at least in the beginning, for several reasons: first of all, it is such an important, national event, that the first thing people ask me when they see me – "are you fasting? Are you going to fast?"…a lot of pressure. Second, it is an experience that is really special to share with the community – stay up late, get up early (as in 4:30 in the morning early) to eat before the ...

  10. Morocco Chasing The Bus

    My second summer in Morocco I was traveling from my town to Rabat, the capital city, when my worst bus riding fear came true. The trip started out like any of the other multiple times I used the local bus service to get between towns.  The system is actually far superior to many of the public transportation systems across the US. In my town I could show up to the bus station and be guaranteed within 1/2 an hour to be headed in the direction I wanted to go.  Often this meant going 20 or ...

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.