1. South Africa The Pied Pipers

      Soon after Woody and I first arrived to our permanent site, one day after school we had a gaggle of children follow us home like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Each one carrying a brick in their hands. When we stopped and asked why they were carrying bricks, they answered in unison “I don't know.”  Well, it turned out that our principal arranged to have a shower drain and “septic” tank (really a French drain) installed at our house and he asked literally every child from the school to bring...

  2. South Africa Today's Reader is Tomorrow's Leader

    At one of our primary schools, the library has been up and running for a while thanks to the previous PCV. Therefore, I thought that it would be a good idea to start a Reading Rewards program there in order to rejuvenate the kids' interest in reading. At our schools at least, the kids all seem to love competitions. So, this new Reading Rewards program seems to be just the thing to get them excited about reading. I called the competition the “Big Five Readers” and made a chart for each grad...

  3. Zimbabwe The Road to the Zambezi

    This was taken on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls at sunset. I was trying to take a picture to highlight how terrible the road as a result of the constant rain poured on it that is generated by the spray of the falls. In the end, with the sun filtering through the clouds of mist the picture turned out really romantic.

  4. Zambia Seka

    Laughing children were the highlight of my time in the village.

  5. Moldova Making Cheese!

    Making homemade goat cheese with my host mother Galina.

  6. Madagascar Famadiahana - Turning of the Dead

    One of the interesting cultural events I have been privileged to witness during my Peace Corps service in Madagascar. One of the ways malagasy honor their ancestors. Each year ancestors' bodies are removed from the family tomb and then rewrapped in silk cloth. Like any good party, heavy drinking, singing and dancing is also involved. Reminded me of university football games --- people having a good time drinking, tossing up friends for every touchdown... except not so much in this case. Just ...

  7. Philippines Forming Islands in the Philippines

    One of the Philippine creation myths speaks of a lightning bolt blasting rock and dropping islands from the sky to form the vast archipelago.  Another myth suggests that the Filipino people emerged from a piece bamboo before fanning out across the island chain.  It is no myth that life in the Philippines can feel scattered and vast.  Its history is a tangled mix of native roots and colonial influences.  The cultural and geographic diversity can feel as if each of the thousands of islands is ...

  8. Thailand Nice to See You and Good Luck

    I swore in last Monday and took the Peace Corps oath, and am now an official volunteer! So that's pretty cool. I probably won't be able to top that in the course of this post. Some bullet points of interesting mishaps: I went to get a supposedly blind massage from a supposedly blind masseus, but he in fact had the gift of sight and was using it to the fullest. Meanwhile my friend's masseus was either a ladyboy (Thailand's notorious third gender, men who surgically become women) or a ve...

  9. Namibia Sunset at the railroad

    THis photo was taken at sunset outside my hut, the host family went to watch. Ongha Namibia

  10. Mongolia Naddam

    Every year in Mongolia  Naddam is celebrated. Its the 3 manly sports Archery, children's horse racing and wrestling. There is a National Naddam is July and local ones too. This year 2011 Overhaungi the region I live in is celebrating tis 80th anniversary. 

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