Katy, English Education in Ukraine
Katherine Seltzer currently serves in western Ukraine as a higher-ed TEFL Peace Corps Volunteer (2016-2018) at Chernivtsi National University (CHNU( in the English Department. During the Fall and Spring semesters, she teaches seven sophomore English classes and holds a weekly film club for students and community members of her city. This year, Seltzer held a local competition at CHNU as a part of the Peace Corps organized International Write On! Competition in which 49 students participated. In the summer of 2017, she also participated as a counselor in Camp WILD, a creative writing camp for teenagers in Ukraine, and this summer she will be co-directing FILM Camp. FILM Camp encourages Ukrainian teenagers to navigate social issues and narratives through filmmaking in the hopes to provide a space to imagine and create 15-minute films that explore social awareness as campers come into their own. So far, Seltzer has had many difficult and inspiring experiences during her Peace Corps service, and she is ready to see what happens next.
Pictures from Ukraine
Kim, Youth Development in Morocco
April 2018 -
Everything is going well so far. I’m excited that COS (Close of Service) is nearing. We have our COS conference in late July so we will know our official set dates of COS. I’m taking it easy and only working with young girls and women. I’m focusing more on fitness, education and health. I plan on staying in Morocco for several months right after COS but do not plan on extending my service.
What I've been up to lately (pictures below)!
1) In a small village near the center of town (Tata, Morocco). I’m holding a fresh carrot that was given to me by the women you see behind me, (it was very sweet!) This is what my site looks like. I spend all day with them just walking, hiking and exploring new areas nearby.
2) I collaborated with the director of the French private institution for children in creating a mural of handprints of a tree. They little ones enjoyed getting their hands wet with paint!
3) My aerobics class and I celebrated International Women’s day. We had lots of cake and danced it all off to traditional Moroccan music. These are only half of the women that attend my aerobics class!
4) This is me and one of my students from the youth center. She was doing henna on my hands!
5) I was a camp counselor at an environmental camp that one of the PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) had in her site near mine! This camp was 12 days long and consisted of non-stop activities all day long. We visited nearby villages and had a final competition on which group created the best invitation to help protect our environment. My team won and this is us (group picture). Since the Tata Providence is full of date trees. Their invention was date catchers, in order to preserve more dates the healthy way.
November 2017 -
It's been a little over a year since my departure! Time is going by fast, that's for sure. Everything is good so far. Things are slowly picking up from the long summer vacation, after completely stopping after May. My language has definitely improved. I can carry on conversations, but I understand more than I can speak.
I'm continuing my daily programs like, advanced English where I have high school students practice public speaking and debate. I teach Spanish, girls’ fitness, and beginning English at the women's center, youth center, and high school housing.
My main projects that I'm currently working on are setting up a technology club and library. I'm currently working on grants to obtain the necessary materials. I'm focusing on research skills, typing, and Microsoft programming for high school students. I'm hoping to create a large career fair at the high school similar to the ones UTEP hosts but a bit smaller. Many students do not know what to do after high school or can't identity their skills. I'm hoping this is successful.
I'm doing health out-reach to surrounding smaller villages towards women and young girls who don't have access to health resources.
I have definitely have had some ups and downs. It's been difficult living in a predominantly male society. Sexual harassment has been up the roof. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to even walk to the corner store and buy eggs, but I have worked up to just ignore these things. I get mistaken for Moroccan most of the time here so people expect me to act like them (dress conservatively, have a male accompany me everywhere). The way of life here moves extremely slow, so having a lot of down time has definitely taken a toll on my mental health because I was so used to being busy in America. I have a year left, so I'm thinking about the present and just taking it day by day and working on a couple of projects that I'm focusing on.
April 2017 -
Hi, this is Kimberly Valle. I'm currently living in the town of Tata, which is the southern part of Morocco close to the border of Algeria. The nearest city is Agadir (5 hours away) that is on the Atlantic coast. The people here in the south are so hospitable and welcoming to any Peace Corps Volunteers. Here, we not only speak Darija (Moroccan Arabic) but we also speak the native language called Tashelheet or Tamazight (which dialect varies in every side of the country). I love it here! I have made close friends and their families have all warmly welcomed me into their homes.
There is so much work to do in the Youth Development sector, Agriculture and Women's Health. I've been attending many trainings and workshops to initiate projects at my site, which is very rewarding having to travel and meet new people. Currently I'm getting ready to head north to Marrakech for additional workshops as it slowly gets hotter and people start to travel to where it is a little cooler. (It gets up to 130 degrees F in Tata!).
Pictures from Morocco
Dannia, Community Health Outreach in Mozambique
September 2017 –
When I arrived to Mozambique, I had 3 months of training, in which we talked about health (HIV, malaria, malnutrition, etc.), community needs, and attended intensive language (Portuguese) courses. I was placed with an AMAZING host family that I still keep in touch with. They taught me how to cook Mozambican food, how to wash clothes by hand, and some of Mozambique's cultural norms.
After 3 months, I moved to Northern Mozambique, towards the Tanzanian border, to the community I will be living and working in over the next 2 years. It is a small town in the province of Cabo Delgado, about 3 hours from Pemba, the provincial capital. My site has a district hospital, a primary and secondary school. There is no university in my town, so residents must leave the town if they wish to continue their education--a difficult process for most.
As for food, the most common foods in northern Mozambique are the leaves of the moringa tree, xima (a thick, starchy food made from water and cornflower), peanuts, and a variety of other plant leaves that are used to prepare many different dishes.
My house is situated near the hospital, which makes life much easier during the hot season, and is overlooked by a beautiful mountain and green landscape. In my neighborhood I am surrounded by amazing neighbors and many, many children.
I recently started a project through the local department of education where I work with local adolescent health activists. They are trained by the Mozambican government and work to spread information about healthy living throughout their communities, often through public presentations or theater performances. My role is to add to their health knowledge base and to keep them motivated to reach out and train others. We meet once a week to discuss differently health topics.
It was quite difficult when I first arrived at site. Adapting to a new culture, lifestyle, and language (local language) was sometimes rather stressful. As I became more comfortable at site, I grew more motivated as I began thinking more about why I am here, how I can help the community in a sustainable way, and the relationships I am slowly building. There are and will be hard times but these will help me to grow as a person. For now, the experiences and feelings from my time here are better than I could have ever imagined, and there is still so much to come!
I am starting to develop a love for my site and clearer motivations for my future. Is it the amazing view I have outside my house? Is it my projects? Is it the hospital? Is it the people I meet? All of these are important to me, but what's more important is the renewed perspective on life that this community has given me.
Pictures from Mozambique
Create Your Own Blog
Create Your Own Blog
While you’re making your mark on the world through your Peace Corps service, we want to help and keep in touch with you. Share your experiences with us by creating your own blog. Follow these steps to create your own blog!
3 Easy Steps
- Begin writing in your new blog.
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Here are some helpful tips you can use for your blog.