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Returned Volunteer Profile

Tatsumi Y.

“Through Peace Corps, I gained confidence in my ability to impact communities and the individuals who comprise them. This has given me a greater sense of responsibility to act. Ultimately, I’ve embarked on a medical career.”

Headshot of Tatsumi Y., a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique

1. What were your primary responsibilities during service?

I taught 9th, 11th, and 12th grade math, chemistry, and English in Mozambique. There, I also ran an English theater club, math club, science club, and youth empowerment club—and was even the provincial director of science fair. Outside of school, I oversaw the provincial science fair and the national leadership of the youth empowerment organization JUNTOS.

2. What projects did you collaborate on with your community?

After securing a grant, we designed and constructed the first community library in town and executed the literacy program with primary and secondary school teachers.

We promoted awareness of malaria prevention and treatment by painting a large mural on the primary school and performing a malaria step dance with secondary school students.

To entertain the kids, we built a playground, taught dodgeball, and played ultimate frisbee with several hundred primary and secondary school children.

To create local employment and grow the local peanut market, we started a peanut butter factory and sold to retailers. This was another grant-supported project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Tatsumi Y. painting a mural in Mozambique.
Volunteer Tatsumi Y. painting a mural in Mozambique.

3. How did Peace Corps service influence your professional path and development?

Through Peace Corps, I gained confidence in my ability to impact communities and the individuals who comprise them. This has given me a greater sense of responsibility to act. Ultimately, I’ve embarked on a medical career and separately devoted another three years of my life to Mozambique with the continued purpose of growing my potential to impact more lives. Together with our former students, we started a peanut butter business during service, and we continue to invest our efforts and hopes in it everyday to build lasting change.

4. How do you use some of the skills you honed during service in your current job?

I work at a fruits and vegetable distribution company in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, to connect local small-scale farmers to commercial kitchens such as those of the regional mining operations. Following the same model, I operate a peanut butter factory on the side. Local language, financial habits, learning styles, communication patterns—everything I’ve learned about the local culture during Peace Corps assists in hiring, training, motivating, and working effectively with our Mozambican team. Outside of that, networking, grant writing, monitoring and evaluation, and management are all skills that I practiced in Peace Corps and continue to serve me in my current positions.

Peace Corps Volunteer Tatsumi Y. at peanut butter factory.
Volunteer Tatsumi Y. at peanut butter factory.

5. How have you shared your experience to help those at home understand the value of Peace Corps service and communities abroad?

I share my experiences through social media. I also feature my work through my appearances on the NBC American Ninja Warrior Netflix show.

6. What Peace Corps benefits have been useful to you?

Networking among the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community around the world and in Mozambique feels like meeting long-lost relatives. RPCVs are everywhere in every profession and I depending on their experiences and support.

Peace Corps Volunteer Tatsumi Y. at farm
Volunteer Tatsumi Y. at farm in Mozambique.

7. What advice/tips do you have for Volunteers just returning from their service?

If it's relevant to your work, tap into the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer network. We're here to connect!

8. How have you remained involved with the Peace Corps community following service?

To this day, many of my closest friends are RPCVs. In recruiting local talent for our business and projects, I always start with the Peace Corps network to find trustworthy, talented people. And, this year, I hope to be part of the training for the first cohort of volunteers since 2020.