What opportunities have you had to learn?
I’ve learned to be more patient with my community in implementing projects. Before joining Peace Corps, I was used to my pace of “go-go-go” and my time in Senegal has showed me that everyone has different speeds. Nobody’s speed is better than the other – it is all in the context of your situation.
What is needed to further improve the health of your community?
Behavior change. My community needs to see that a few minor changes in their behavior (i.e. – handwashing) can greatly change the health of their families. While we may be far away from the nearest large town or major market, they are able to get many of the supplies that they need. There is a misconception that they need money to improve their health status. While money is helpful in establishing better infrastructure, it is not the one solution to improve health. I want my community to see that little changes in their daily life can have tremendous benefits for their health.
What messages do you have for your community leaders?
You can do a lot of good for your health with a few minor practices that are very inexpensive. Everyone is under the impression that you have to have a lot of money to improve your health, and that is simply not the case. Work on changing one small thing a day and you will see great benefits.
What are your aspirations after Peace Corps? How has your experience in Peace Corps shaped your goals? How will your experience help you achieve them?
I plan to go on to medical school and eventually work in the field of global health. My Peace Corps service has given me the opportunity to work at the most grassroots level of development. I’ve worked alongside my community members on projects and have seen how important it is to work with the communities you are targeting. My service has provided me with a new view on the world and development, and I hope to use that in my future work in global health.