Country: Zambia

Research, Women's Groups

27 Months: Let's Do the Numbers

March 12, 2014

Today (well, technically yesterday) I finally did it. I left for Peace Corps.  It's a day that's been over a year and a half in coming, and I was so.freakin'.ready to just finally get on that plane.

But first, let's do the numbers.

58 - The number of volunteers boarding the plane for Zambia; 28 aquaculture (RAP) volunteers, and 30 agroforestry (LIFE) volunteers.

hannah1.jpg15 - Number of volunteers who got in to Philly last night and went out to watch the Super Bowl and sample the local fare.  Philly does hard cider pretty well.

4 - The number of bags I brought with me.  One duffel (32lbs), one hiking pack (36lbs), one day pack, and one Timbuk2 messenger bag.

68 - Total weight (lbs) of my gear (plus my carry on things, which I did not weigh).  It appears from comparisons with other volunteers that I'm on the lighter end of the gear spectrum.

5 - Number of flights  (plus one bus ride) to get from Homer, Alaska to Lusaka, Zambia.  Total travel time: approximately 30 hours.

2 - Number of groups staging at our Philadelphia hotel!  Zambia and Ghana.  Very cool to get to interact with a different PCT group.

2 - Number of inches it snowed in Philadelphia last night. Multiply by 10,000 to understand how much people are freaking out about it.

27 - Number of months until I get to see my beloved friends, family, and snow again.

11 - Number my excitement is cranked up to! Bonus reader points if you "tapped" into that reference (har har).

1 - Number of free Google-sponsored tablets Peace Corps surprised us with after staging was complete! Yespleaseandthankyou!

hannah2.jpgIn all seriousness, I am filled with indelible excitement, a little bit of fleeting anxiety, and a feeling of tremendous contentment and "rightness" about the path I am on.  Saying goodbye to all those I know and love has been exceptionally difficult (I won't mention the number of tears cried this past week), but I am so, so grateful to all those who have supported, encouraged, and loved me (too many to count) throughout this journey - now just finally beginning in earnest!

My goal is to prepare a couple more posts that will auto-post while I am beginning my training.  The next three months look something like this:

  • 2:30am tonight/tomorrow morning, leave for JFK airport via bus
  • Feb 5th - Arrive in Lusaka, Zambia
  • Spend a couple of days in and around the capitol
  • Spend 3-4 days in a site with a current volunteer
  • Break into our training groups and spend the next 11 weeks in intensive language, skills, and culture training
  • Approximately three months from now, swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Move out to my site (village); hopefully have some sort of blogging access

You'll notice that "blog on a reliable basis" is not on this list. My goal is to continue once per week posts, but please accept my advance and profuse apologies if this doesn't happen.  Peace Corps in Africa, you know?  In the meantime, thanks for following my column.  You can reach me at or find my blog: if you have questions, comments, or post requests!