Madagascar’s Independence Day!!!

The Independence Day celebrations here in Mantasoa went on for three days and I was told that in the capital they went on all week.  The actual independence day was on Thursday, 6/26/2014, but people started celebrating the night before.  When I returned from our meetings at the PCTC, knowing that there were going to be festivities going on that night, I asked my Neny what was going on and if we were going to be doing anything.  When he answered that we were going to watch the fireworks in Tana on the T.V. I was super bummed, but there was not much I could do.  Fortunately

First Day at the “Big Market”

As part of our training Peace Corps took us to the market in a town 40 km (or 30 minutes) away to practice our numbers and bargaining skills.  To do this they gave each of the trainees 5,000 Ar (equivalent to $2.50) and a list of stuff that we had to buy.  We were informed that we could only spend that money and if we had extra left over to buy whatever other food items we wanted and that all of it would be prepared for us for lunch on Wednesday when we came to the PCTC.  The list I was given to buy was as follows: 3 kilos of oranges, 2 cups of wet beans (fresh beans), and a bunch of

My First Sickness

So I have just got over my first sickness here in Madagascar.  Fortunately it was not a bad one, but only the common cold (and not really that bad of a cold).  The bad ones are still to come and there is no doubt that I will be checking off a few boxes of international diseases while I am here in Madagascar.  This sickness all started a few days ago when the weather turned for the worst and it started raining and continued to be cold.  I was not the only, nor the first, trainee to get sick, nor was I the worst.  Although for the most part I did the same as I would have done in the States (nothing) to

Church and Tourism in a Foreign Land

My host family is Protestant and today being Sunday, they go to church.  Previous to leaving for Community Based Training, many of the trainees had stated that they were not going to go to church with their families this Sunday; me being on of them.  It was the first day out “in the real world” and we could not even answer a few questions from a few people, much less a whole congregation.  As it turns out, not very many of the trainees were able to see this through; me again being one of them.  How are you supposed to say no and politely explain why when you can not even understand each other?  So I went to church.   
This is not a ‘get in the car and drive to church real quick’ kind of travel; it is a

First Day at My Host Home!!!

Today was probably the most nervous day, so far, for all of the volunteers.  At noon today we went to our host home for Community Based Training!  Everyone undoubtedly had an array of different fears to contend with, but what was on everyone’s mind was the lack of communication capabilities.  We had only three half days of language training and most of it we could not reliably remember.  So we were off with what we thought we would need for a week and the very little language skills we had acquired to meet our host family.   
Arriving at the Commune we all piled out of the vans and stood around waiting to be adopted by our new family.  The Commune is a small compound which is the

Day 2

Breakfast was great.  They serve rice with every meal; it is the staple food in Madagascar.  Lunch and dinner is just boiled rice, but for breakfast it is always a specialty cooked or seasoned rice. All of the volunteer’s plates are divided into the different foods that they give us with what I would call an average amount of rice, but if you looked at the workers and staff plates they had a mountain of rice with all of the other foods just stacked on top of it.   
This being my second training day, it was a lot easier than yesterday.  We started with a two hour language lesson class, which was far easier than yesterday thankfully.  I found out today that it will be our last real lesson before we go to our host home tomorrow.  That I think will be a shock.  I am really excited to go, but I can not lie, I am a little

First day of Training

Thursday, 6/12/14

So today was my first day at training and it was a very long day, but at least not as long as yesterday.  So getting up at 8:00 am for breakfast was a huge change in my old schedule.  The breakfast was awesome though and well worth it.  They have honey here that is out of this world and the peanut butter is more like homemade peanut butter and is great.  I also ate pink rice, ground beef and eggs, but the honey on the fried bread is what made it.   
Following that we had a meeting with the staff and were introduced to them, our schedule for the day, and a little info about Madagascar and our training. I

Life in the Compound

Thursday, 6/12/14

peace corps training center sign mantasoa madagascar
Entry sign for the Peace Corps Training Center in Madagascar.

Life at the training center compound is awesome!!!  It is in the Mantasoa area, which is amazingly beautiful.  It lies on the eastern banks of the highland area with rolling hills, beautiful tress, and an awesome lake (we can not get in the lake for safety reasons…some parasite that lives in standing water we are told).  Being at the compound is like being at summer camp.  Many of the people only share their room with only one other person, but in my room I share it with five other volunteers and it is great.  They are all awesome people.  The rooms are much like you would see at a camp in the States with comfortable beds, a shower (with hot water!!), toilets, and a couch, but with mosquito nets and a ton of luggage that seems to be growing by the hour with all the stuff they are giving us. 

Im Leaving for a Place Far Far Away!!!

Many of you have heard me say for quite a while that I was going to keep a blog of my adventures in Madagascar time and time again.  Well here it is!  Although the blog has been up for a bit, this is my first of many blog post.  I will be posting on here as often as possible about all of the stories of my adventures during my Peace Corps service.  Until I get to my site (in about 11 weeks) I will not know how often I will be able to get online, but I do promise to update when I can.

Many of you have asked why I decided to join the Peace Corps.  I am not sure if I can give a singular

Peace Crops Application Timeline


Joining the Peace Corps can be a big life changing decision. There is no grantee that you will get in, where you will go, or what you will be doing when you get there, but the rewards are far worth the effort. Although the process has changed a bit since I applied back in 2013, the timeline seems to somewhat the same. The timeline can differ from person to person and for each sector and country.


I have had a few people ask me about the timeline of my application process, so I have decided to post a bulleted version of it.  What follows are just the events and dates that I found important.  There were a few other follow up interviews and questionnaires that I had to also fill out, but I think the following gives a good idea about the time frame between the major events.  If there is any questions about any of the events or anything fill free to comment or e-mail me.

Applied to Peace Corps:     June 4
Had my 1st interview:         July 9
Nominated:                         July 15
Placement interview:          November 20
Received my invitation:     November 29
Staging:                              June 8

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