Wanderlust Wendy

Peace Corps

10 Years Since the Peace Corps

Last week marked 10 years since I left the comforts of American suburbia for a different life. It was 2008. I packed up two massive bags and flew to Philadelphia to meet a bunch of strangers, some would later become lifelong friends. From there, we got vaccinated and were inundated by information. Within a few days, we were shipped off on a plane to Cameroon. I was a bright-eyed and … Read more

That Time When NYT Published My Words

Earlier this year, NYT printed my words on its website. For an amateur writer like myself, this was a big deal. Sure, my journalists friends are publishing on big name publications all day long like it’s no big deal, but for me, it was rather out of the ordinary. It began during my trip to Ethiopia back in February. I was traveling without my laptop, and only connecting to the … Read more

Mourning the Loss of a Village Friend

Today was a sad day full of tragic news. I woke up to my NYT alert on the San Francisco plane crash, and made a mental note how spooky it feels that I am due to take a flight on a similar route in a few weeks’ time. You just never know. Then, I ended the day with a devastating news – my dear friend Victor, who was my guardian, … Read more

Letter from Village

It’s rare these days to receive a hand written letter. Once in a blue moon, I will receive a postcard from a friend traveling. But a legitimate hand-written letter? I haven’t received one of those in a long long while. But today, I received one. It was written in French, from my Cameroonian friend, Victor, who lives in my village. It was, incredible. I left Cameroon two years ago, and … Read more

2012 Peace Corps Annual Gathering

Over the weekend, I met the Peace Corps volunteer on this 1964 issue cover of National Geographic. She was with the first group of volunteers to Ecuador, and one of many remarkable Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) that I met at the 2012 Peace Corps Annual Gathering. The event  was hosted by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), an independent non-profit organization that works closely with the Peace Corps…

On est ensemble!

The long-awaited Peace Corps reunion weekend happened a few days ago. This is the 50th year of the Peace Corps and this was the weekend that loads of events took place in DC. My stage (training group) took this opportunity and organized our own reunion on top of it. Somehow, we managed to get people to fly in from all over the country. Nearly 50 people showed up at the barbeque that took place. People came from San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Denver, and a few were fresh off the boat (plane) from Cameroon just a couple of weeks ago!

Reverse Culture Shock: one year later.

I left Cameroon just a little over a year ago. This year went by in a blur. Swoosh! and it was gone. As I reflect upon this past year, I begin to realize the impact that reverse culture shock had on me. People always say that it’s easier going into a new experience than coming back. I never really had too much difficulty with past international moves, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. And then it hit me. It didn’t take me too long to get over the potato chips incident, or getting used to the luxuries of modern society. Yet the other aspects of reintegration affected me in ways that I didn’t allow myself to recognize.

Read moreReverse Culture Shock: one year later.

Reaction to ABC’s 20/20 Peace Corps Report

This morning, I woke up to a link in my Inbox to 20/20’s 3-part report on the Peace Corps. The piece discusses the lack of proper support and response to the murder of Kate Puzey and later a segment of women who were sexually assaulted and/or raped during their service. I was extremely saddened by this report and can definitely understand the anger and frustration these women have toward the Peace Corps. However, while I am glad the report has raised issues of mismanagement within the organization, it also took away so many positive aspects of what it stands for. Most people already only have a vague idea of what the Peace Corps is about, and a report as such aired on national television will only drive people away further.

Read moreReaction to ABC’s 20/20 Peace Corps Report

America, the Land of Plenty

  It’s hard to fathom that only 4 days ago, I was still in Cameroon. Despite how much I am trying to hold onto it, that life is quickly fading away into a surreal dream. I’m saddened and scared by that. Over the two years, that life in village has became my comfort zone, and for some reason having to leave that behind is posing more difficulty than I imagined. … Read more

Passing On the Torch

Tomorrow is my last full day in village. I am nervous and am not sure that I am ready to leave. Though I am realizing that perhaps one is never ready to leave a situation as this. I just simply gotta “pull the band-aid off” so to speak. So many emotions. It has been a wild ride. Try as I may, words are simply insufficient in describing how I feel. … Read more