Choosing to join the Peace Corps wasn’t an easy decision for me because it meant that I would be away from my family and friends for more than 2 years. I lost count of how many times I asked myself if what I was doing was worth leaving my loved ones behind for such a long period of time, not knowing how often we would be able to communicate, what exciting milestones and celebrations I would miss, and how impossible it would be for me to physically be there for them if they needed me. Missing my family and friends back home was an inevitable reality I knew I would face as soon as I got here to Zambia, and on days when things aren’t going so well, or when nostalgia comes knocking on my door, it gets really hard. For a while, I was afraid that I would just have to learn to cope with everything, convincing myself that being lonely was a part of the Peace Corps experience and that everything would eventually be okay. But guess what? I wasn’t alone in feeling this way, and soon I met such amazing, inspiring new friends within my Peace Corps Zambia cohort. Being able to spend time, talk, and share stories of our lives back home in America is always fun and therapeutic. I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends for sure.
Advice to incoming Peace Corps volunteers: the sooner you let go, open up, and make the decision to allow new friends to enter your new life in your new home in a new country, the sooner you’ll feel at home again. You don’t have to make friends with everyone, but I strongly suggest to reach out and befriend someone. It really does help during your training and during service.
Our “Muzungu Running Club” (MRC) and village kids
Teaching the village kids how to stretch
MRC’s first run together
Soccer with the kids near our training center!
Meet Lucky. He’s a cool kid. And Jane, she’s pretty cool, too.
Go half-way across the world. Meet a fraternity brother. GO BETA.
Some downtime with Jessi; she can dance!
Meet Teakia. Heart of gold. Kisses galore.
No, he’s not Jesus. His name is Matt, and we like headwraps.
My girls: Claudia, Cori, and Jane
At the training center right before session
The ladies of our project cohort
Indoor safaris can be fun, too!
WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE. AKA PIZZA.
6 PIZZAS. 4 GIRLS. EASY.