One Year

One year ago today I took an oath and was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It’s hard to explain, or even remember everything that has happened since that day. It’s also somehow hard to believe I’m halfway through my service.

While I find it hard to write a post that encapsulates the last year, I figured I would share all my favorite memories and general occurrences. Some are big, some are small, good and not so good but all are things I don’t want to forget.

So here it goes. These are my favorite things that happened during the last 365 days.

Getting KFC my first night at site, and eating it alone in a semi-empty flat

My colleague coming over my second day at site and saying “so, we need to get to know each other!” and talking for an hour or two

Teaching for the first time and completely failing

Teaching a few more times and still failing (probably) but feeling like I’m getting better

Learning how to help people write a good business plan

Crying over a big spider in my room and moving all of my belongings into the living room because I refused to sleep near it

Adopting a cat (my best friend)

Learning to make oshithima

Learning to bake bread

The first time the neighbor kids called me “Auntie”

Traveling to my best friends’ village and meeting her family

Attending my first Wambo wedding, and then my second, third and fourth

Learning that, for some odd reason, bookkeeping is my favorite business topic to teach

Playing netball for the first time and not having a clue what I’m doing

Playing netball now and not having a clue what I’m doing

Experiencing my first rainy season

Traveling Namibia with Media Committee and getting inspired by all the amazing things Volunteers are doing daily

Seeing actual hills for the first time in three months on my way to our Reconnect Conference

Seeing my friends for the first time in three months at our Reconnect Conference

Crying from laughing so hard on my first Namibian birthday while eating ice cream cake

Climbing Dune 7, drinking a beer at the top, and running back down

Watching my friends finish a marathon and half-marathon

Hosting a youth empowerment workshop with other Volunteers

Celebrating Halloween in Owamboland (Wamboween)

Seeing the products that my outreach programs make, and the progress they’ve made

Taking what was possibly one of the most disgusting shots I’ve ever had; rum, tequila and hot sauce

Being home for the holidays and getting the perfect pow/bluebird day on the mountain

Bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge

Ringing in the 2018 with some of my best friends at a concert in Zimbabwe

Whitewater rafting in the Zambezi River and nearly dying

Getting burnt to a crisp by the African sun

Hearing packs of lions roar in the night while camping in Chobe National Park

Waking up to an elephant walking past our campsite

Getting painted with colored chalk for a Holi Celebration with other Volunteers

Becoming a pro at 9-hour kombi rides and sharing my snacks with the driver

Seeing penguins, seals and flamingos off the coast of Namibia

Holding a team-building day for staff with my counterpart

Having “laundry day” as my “me time”

Hearing stories about my group members doing awesome things at site in our group chat

Reminding my group of our anniversary every single month in our group chat

Singing “Wild Things” with my women’s group

Realizing I am totally type A, despite how hard I try to be spontaneous

Becoming much more self-aware in general

Hearing ZO-EEEEE anytime a trainee sees me outside of the centre

Having Peace Corps trainees visit my site and get their first taste of what the next two years might look like for them

Walking in a fashion show while modeling clothing made by women entrepreneurs

Painting a kindergarten in the village, followed by lots of oshikundu

Attending church and being told I am no longer a visitor

Oshiwambo lessons under an embe tree


Year two has big shoes to fill.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Becurrz Pritchett says:

    One of your favorite things was a giant spider and laundry day?!! You’re killin’ me here! I love your list – thank you for sharing it.


  2. Aunt Lynelle says:

    You’ve grown a lot and will forever see this world with different eyes. I’m so proud of you Zoe. I should have sent Nathan with you 😘


  3. Bob O'Dell says:

    Wow Zoe! What a full year you have had. Packed full of adventures and new things. I am really glad to see you’re making the most of, and enjoying your time in the Peace Corps.


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