I will be serving as a Youth Development Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Morocco from January 13, 2014 through March 26, 2016.
It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget. Where I remember every single detail and everything is a haze, all at the same time.
The day before I had spoken on the phone with my Education Placement Officer from the Peace Corps, who had said I would hear next steps from her in 2-3 weeks. I had become accustomed to setbacks with the Peace Corps process by then (though the news still stung), as my application was already delayed at least four months due to a holdup in the medical process and Sequester-related budget cuts. I was discouraged, and thought to myself maybe in August.
At 6:32PM Central Time, my phone buzzed once. I looked down, expecting junk e-mail from LinkedIn or information regarding a Substitute Teaching job I had recently applied for. The title of the e-mail read: “Peace Corps – Invitation!”
My heart stopped. I quickly slid my thumb to open the e-mail. This is what I saw:
I turned to my mom, tears in my eyes, and said, “Mom, I’m going to Morocco.”
My family started screaming, hugging me, and yelling “We’re going on vacation to Morocco!!!!” and I could hear my youngest sister asking my mom, “Where is Morocco?”
The moment I had been waiting for since I began my application to the Peace Corps last October, since I began dreaming about the Peace Corps when I was 15, had arrived. (You can see my application timeline here.)
As a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco, my job will be to work directly with a Dar Chebab (“House of Youth” or Youth Center, in Arabic) to create programming and activities for my community. These could range from teaching English classes, facilitating girl empowerment workshops, running aerobics classes for local women, or hosting summer camps for students. The possibilities are endless! I am thrilled by this change in assignment (I was originally nominated as a Secondary English Teacher) because I feel like it will give me incredible experience and insight into leading grassroots development projects — exactly what I hope to turn into a career.
I won’t be leaving for another 6 months, but I’m already counting down the days until I land in Rabat.
Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to me since my announcement! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such loving friends, family and community who will support me no matter what crazy adventure I get into, goals I set for myself, or non-traditional career path I select. I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say I couldn’t do any of this without you!