1. South Africa Laundry the Local Way

    My wife, Lora Willard, is carrying our laundry on her head as she heads back home through the village after a hot day of washing clothes with the other women at the river.  Lora found that washing at the river was more effective with our limited water supply and carrying the laundry on her head was easier than in her hands.  At least in this instance, local is better!

  2. South Africa Literacy Begins At Home

    My wife, Lora Willard, began gathering book donations to work on a literacy project at our schools.  But before she got a chance to begin the project at school, she pulled out a few books at our home.  Once the kids saw we had books they called all their friends and gathered around in our yard for an impromptu story time!  Literacy really does begin at home (our home in South Africa, in this instance)!

  3. South Africa Cat Crazy!

    We started with two kittens that we received from the Pakistani store-owners in our village.  The kittens grew up to be cats who attracted the attention of male cats elsewhere in the village and we've been flooded with kittens ever since!  At least these two mother cats always help each other out with their massive litter of kittens!  How many cats/kittens can you count in this picture?

  4. South Africa Don't Worry, Be Happy!

    The bridge spanning the river between our village and the neighboring village was never well-constructed.  Oftentimes it cracks or pieces of it collapse and the repairs are always temporary and poor in quality.  One morning a taxi driver's van fell right through the middle of the bridge as it collapsed beneath him.  But, why worry?  I think this picture of the taxi driver and his van greatly demonstrates South Africans' ability to look past adversity with a smile, and not worry about circumst...

  5. Madagascar Fetching Water

    We saved our vacation days to spend a month in Madagascar during the second half of our Peace Corps service.  It was fun seeing how many things about Madagascar are different than South Africa and how many things are the same.  Here's one thing that's the same: kids trekking through the fields to gather water of questionable quality and haul it the distance back to their homes, with a good attitude about it all the while.  Here's one thing that's different: the fields the kids pass through in...

  6. South Africa South African Summers

    There was a small river between our village and the neighboring village and summer rains would help fill it up enough for swimming.  It was also about the only way to cool off during the horriffic heat of South African summers and the local kids weren't shy to take advantage of it.  Here's a late afternoon picture of our brother in our host family following his friend with a large leap into the cool waters, while his sister in the background looks on.

  7. South Africa Dance Your Heart Out!

    In our village they often have traditional Mchongolo dancing parties for various occasions.  This one was after the completion of a one-year "wearing the black" grieving process for a prominent family in our village who lost a member of their family.  You can see that the boys are really dancing for all they're worth and the expressions on their faces tells the whole story!

  8. Niger Making an Improved Cookstove

    This is a picture of me and a bunch of my favorite Nigerien children whom I was teaching how to make an improved cookstove out of mud and dung. 

  9. Niger Goodbye Niger

    It was too green. The cows were too fat, the children too clean, the roads too well-paved. I turned to Mariah, my bus buddy on for the two hours from the airport in Casablanca to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. "Are we really still in Africa?" "I'm not really sure of anything anymore," she wearily responded. It had been four sleepless days since Peace Corps had announced that we were leaving Niger. Ten anxious days since terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda had kidnapped two Fr...

  10. 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...

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