Announcing: my Peace Corps Placement

Dear friends, family, friends-that-are-family, cohorts, coworkers, and co-conspirators:

I am writing to share with you the exciting news that I have received and accepted an invitation to serve with the Peace Corps (!!). This post is a lengthy one, for which I do apologize, but I hope that it thoroughly conveys everything I know so far to those interested parties wishing to know as much as I do. For everyone else’s ease, I’ve made the most important parts bold. So read on!  (And for those of you already in the know, consider this your expanded details version, for the record):

I was absolutely thrilled when I received giant hints of this news by phone a couple weeks ago, and even more thrilled when the country was confirmed in my invitation packet.  As most of you know, I am a mountain-girl at heart who finds herself continually drawn to the mountains of the world. The top two countries on my list to visit: Nepal and Peru. So imagine my excitement when I learned that I will be living in Nepal for 2 years!

WHAT: I will be working as an Agriculture/Nutrition Extensionist,
Although the title is seemingly straight-forward, this could in fact include any number of unique projects, including multi-use water programs and sustainable community practices.  The other thrilling part about this assignment: I will be part of the first group of 20 volunteers to serve in Nepal since they closed the program in 2004! This is officially known as an “Early Generation Volunteer”, which means that I am not picking up existing projects where they left off, but will be starting projects afresh. Don’t worry – I won’t be doing anything completely alone: I will be working along side local NGO’s and – and this is where it get’s even more exciting – in partnership with USAID. While I do not know the extent or precise capacity of this partnership at present, I can tell you this much: if I do spend the next two years working along side them, the chances of getting a future job with them are high. In particular, I will be working to promote their Feed the Future Initiative.

WHEN: I will be departing on Friday, September 7th.
I will certainly be having a few joint send-off / pre-birthday celebrations beforehand – at home, in the bay area, in Monterey – so stayed tuned!  Between June and September I will be working as a farm hand somewhere, TBD (to be figured out ASAP – let me know if you know someone!).  But I also plan on spending a week in July at my home away from home, Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp, to teach a new batch of kiddos to be more artful ;). For those of you who are not familiar, Peace Corps service is a 27 month commitment – 3 months of in-country training and 24 months of service. This means that after September, the soonest I am likely to return to the US is December of 2014.

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So – that’s a TON of information (now you guys feel a bit like I do!) so take your time digesting it. Future installments to include: updates about send-offs, info on contacting and visiting me during my service, and eventually stories about my Nepali adventures (but not overly frequently).  But for now – bask with me in my excitement!

166 days and counting –