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Kindness H.

“When I first arrived, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like in the next six months. I have met so many people since I've been here, and I can’t wait to get to know them even more.”

Kindness H Headshot

1. What got you interested in Peace Corps?

Growing up in a co-housing community where people lived communally, sharing spaces and resources in a way that is uncommon in the United States had me exploring other cultures and embracing differences from a very young age. I developed global awareness and learned how our actions have ripple effects around the world. My neighbors had met in the Peace Corps - they would tell me stories about their experiences, and it fascinated me. I knew I had to apply to the Peace Corps after I graduated from college during the COVID19 Pandemic and wanted to travel to a new community, sharing my knowledge and experiences and learning from others.

2. What projects are you working on with your community?

Currently, I am working on a joint project with another Volunteer in my district. We are collaborating with leader farmers in our villages to co-facilitate an oyster mushroom training. We will have multiple day training sessions and show how to plant, grow, and harvest mushrooms, the health benefits of mushrooms, and how to sell mushrooms in the market. I am also working on a letter exchange program with my local village school. This exchange will focus on Goals 2 and 3 of the Peace Corps, and benefit the kids in honing their English proficiency and letter writing skills! Furthermore, I am in the process of writing a grant for an environmental club for the school kids. We will build a kitchen garden, learn about reducing waste by composting, and make nutritious and healthy snacks.

3. What strategies have you used to integrate into your community?

The most useful strategy I have used to integrate into my community would be that I stepped outside my comfort zone as soon as possible. My first week at site, my host mother taught me a Nepali song, and I sang it on a microphone in front of the entire village during the Nepali Festival Teej. It was difficult to memorize the song when I was so new to the language, and I was very nervous. During the song it was nice to see all the smiling faces of the villagers I would be spending the next two years with. My neighbors still bring it up to this day, and it has brought me closer to my community.

4. What is a highlight of your time in service so far?

A highlight of my service so far would be working on my host family's farm. There are seven baby goats that were born a couple months ago, and I have been having a great time with them. It also has been great learning how to care for them. They have grown so fast these past few weeks. I also love weeding the garden beds and planting new crops. Recently, we have been harvesting and replanting potatoes. There is a lot of work to do on the farm, and my host family works every day, even on Saturdays when most people take that day of work in Nepal.

Peace Corps Volunteer Kindness H. with her host family
Peace Corps Volunteer Kindness H. with her host family - Motilal and Inamati Roka.

5. What have you enjoyed most about the community where you are serving?

What I’ve enjoyed most about my community are the relationships that I have built. I have met so many people since I've been here, and I can’t wait to get to know them even more. When I first arrived, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like in the next six months. I have gotten to know everyone in my neighborhood well, and have been attending events to meet even more people. It’s important to connect with people in the community so that projects can be established easier.

6. What are some of the most important things you've learned from your community?

The most important thing I have learned from my community is selflessness. When one community member is sick, everyone checks in on them to make sure they have everything they need. When a new road needs construction, everyone comes together to haul stones and cement. When someone is having a celebration, everyone gathers the night before to cook food and clean and set up tables and chairs. The community works together to make sure everyone is taken care of. They are willing to spend their whole day helping their neighbor weed their fields and harvest their crops. They focus attention on helping their loved ones succeed, instead of themselves.

Peace Corps Volunteer Kindness H. in front of a project.
Peace Corps Volunteer Kindness H. in front of a project.

7. How do you spend time when you are not working on a project?

When I am not working on a project I like to go on walks around the village. My neighbors are always so welcoming with tea and coffee. I love to catch up with them, or hear about what they did that morning. One of my favorite things here is the natural beauty that surrounds us. I have a great view of Dhaulagiri which is the 7th tallest mountain in the world. I can also see Annapurna South and Machhapuchhre (fishtail in Nepali) from my bedroom window. I love to hear the stories and legends about how these mountains and my community members have shown me that you can see shapes such as faces and snakes that were naturally carved into them.

8. What are you looking forward to in your remaining time as a Peace Corps Volunteer?

One thing that I am looking forward to is the opportunity to participate on the communications committee. This committee will allow me to share captivating photos and highlight stories of all the different Volunteers and the impact they have made within their respective communities. I am also looking forward to assisting with social media content, and contributing new ideas for content that will reach lots of new people.

9. Once you finish your service, what will you do differently when you return to the US (or elsewhere)?

When I return to the United States after service, my intention is to live more mindfully. In the United States, it has become the norm to rush everything. This has led to a disconnection from the present moment. I intend to slow down so that I can appreciate little moments in day to day life. I also plan to establish my own kitchen garden, and deepen my understanding of where my food originates. Furthermore, I will be eager to share the knowledge that I have gained here, prioritizing education to others on sustainability and the environment. I also want to continue to learn from others, there is so much knowledge that exists within our diverse society.