Peace Corps Connect and Africa Rural Connect (ARC) Manager, Molly Mattessich gives us an update from Nairobi, Kenya, where she is representing NPCA and the ARC project.
Stepping off the plane after a long ride from Washington, DC, it felt like summer - the hot wind was blowing and bats were flying overhead on the tarmac in the night; we were happy finally to arrive at Nairobi’s international airport.
Since I served in the Peace Corps in Mali, I was somewhat prepared for Nairobi, Kenya - and what a great city. The people are friendly and the food is great. I wasn’t prepared for the traffic jams, but when worst comes to worst, hey, we just get out and walk.
Today we had lunch with Ben Bellows, Group Leaders Forum Coordinator for NPCA. Ben gave us the inside scoop on expat life in Nairobi, and we discussed the technological needs of group leaders and how we can better build out the Peace Corps Connect website based on those membership and administrative needs. One of the ideas that popped up during our discussion was to organize the member groups to negotiate better rates for their respective online transactions.
Then we paid a visit to Steven Wisecarver, Country Director of Peace Corps Kenya, and told him about Africa Rural Connect, Peace Corps Connect, and NPCA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of Peace Corps. He was happy to learn about NPCA’s offer of free membership to every RPCV during their first year after COS, and of the NPCA Mentoring Program, and will make sure that those materials are included in COS packets. We chatted further about the connections between NPCA and Peace Corps and how we can improve our communication.
Steve told us all about the Kenya program and the projects that they hope to build out. It was news to us that they have a large group of deaf volunteers serving the deaf community here in Kenya, and many of those volunteers graduated from Gallaudet University, a connection to our hometown, Washington, DC.
At HQ, we witnessed a happy COS-ing volunteer receive her final signatures on papers needed for departure and, of course, a Peace Corps pin as a token of appreciation for her service.
Like every day that I remember from Peace Corps, a day in Africa can feel like a week...there is so much to do and each day feels productive. It’s great to be back on the continent, this time representing the National Peace Corps Association.