Volunteer: Lisa Curtis
After graduating from college, I joined the Peace Corps as a Municipal and Community Development Volunteer in Niger. Although Niger is best known for being one of the poorest countries in the world, I loved my experience there and cannot put into words the pain that I felt when the Peace Corps program was evacuated due to a terrorist attack in the capital city. I then flew to New Delhi, India for a family friend's wedding and obtained a three month internship at Start Up! a venture capital firm focused on social entrepreneurship. Currently, I am back in Alameda and working at a youth leadership program called Summer of Solutions in Oakland. After the summer ends, who knows where I'll go...
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, I spent four years in Walla Walla, Washington attending Whitman College. While there I served as the Campus Sustainability Coordinator and was an active member of the climate change club. I’m interested in community organizing and spent a lot of time working in lower-income neighborhoods in Walla Walla to decrease crime and increase civic engagement, particularly among the Latino population. I helped found Whitman eJustice which combined my interest in environmental issues and poverty alleviation by distributing energy efficient light-bulbs in few of the neighborhoods where I had previously worked. I’m also interested in international development and especially in increasing off-the-grid, renewable sources of energy in developing countries as a means to increase economic productivity and solve our climate crisis. In 2008, I helped start a biodigester project in Kakamega, Kenya that uses cow dung as an alternative source of fuel to wood harvested from the tropical rainforest. I have done quite a bit of youth organizing, as the North American Youth Representative for the United Nations Environment Programme and a youth delegate to conferences everywhere from Copenhagen to South Korea. I also had the privilege to serve as an intern in the White House Office of Political Affairs, an experience that has greatly increased my interest in public policy.
Contributions from Lisa Curtis
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...
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.