I guess this is the beginning of my blog, welcome! For my initial post, I will begin with an introduction and why I chose to join the Peace Corps. My name is Chris and at the time of this writing, I am 22. I was born into a military family that traveled from the continental United States to live in Europe (in particular Belgium and Germany) and to Asia (South Korea). Added up I’ve spent approximately 12 years living abroad. I suppose my life has been pretty nomadic in moving from place to place and that has without a doubt contributed to my desire to live and work abroad. But what did it take to make a young man who studied political science throughout his time at university, become an agriculture volunteer for the Peace Corps in Senegal?
My initial desire to join the Peace Corps originated from a lecture one of my professors gave during my study abroad in South Korea as a sophomore. I vividly remember the lecture where he spoke about the Peace Corps history and missions abroad and from that moment a seed had been planted. It seems ironic that an American student got the idea to join the Peace Corps from his Korean professor during an American Politics class. As time went on the seed that was planted continued to grow. My second semester abroad, I took a Comparative Politics course with the same professor. He had a great interest in African politics, specifically Ghana. This lead me to study more about Ghana and I ended up doing a project in the course about Ghanaian politics. Those two courses set my initial framework for what to do after I graduated: Peace Corps and Ghana. But what would I do in the Peace Corps?
It took another professor who had experience in development work from her time in Uganda to spark my interest in development and agriculture in particular. Upon my return to Hawaii Pacific University, I took a course in the Sociology of Development and I became deeply interested in the relationship between underdeveloped and developed nations and the way development worked. I ended up taking another course by the same professor during my last semester before I graduated. It was a course in the Anthropology of Food and it was the final piece of the puzzle. My professor once again expanded what I knew about the world but this time from the perspective of agriculture and the food system.
It seems that everything fell into place at the right time. Not even a month after graduating, I submitted my first application to the Peace Corps and the rest is history. I will do my best to keep this blog updated through the process of getting to Senegal and for the adventure that follows.