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2 years, 3 months
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3-6 months
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Trinity C.

“Asking for help is not a weakness; reaching out to others, connecting—these things build relationships that can help you become a better version of yourself.”

Trinity C Headshot

1. What got you interested in the Peace Corps?

My best friend introduced me to the organization as we were about to graduate college. She knew this is what she wanted to do straight out of college. Inspired by her enthusiasm, I began researching more about Peace Corps’ mission and began discussions with my university’s campus recruiter. I have a love of traveling, of trying new and different experiences, and of wanting to make Peace Corps’ mission a reality in a part of the developing world, so I found myself filling out an application.

2. What projects are you working on?

Currently, I am holding teacher workshops focused on teaching methods and strategies to increase student skills in English literacy and numeracy. This includes classroom games, changes in the curriculum, and tips and tricks on classroom management.

I am also working on a grant to beautify classrooms with painted murals and create teaching aids that will last longer than the current paper teaching aids that suffer from wear and tear over the years.

In the future, I hope to partner with a Spanish NGO to develop a year-round community garden. The project focuses on increasing nutrition for students and the village as a whole. If successful, women will be able to sell surplus produce and also learn skills in financial literacy through selling that surplus.

Trinity C is an education volunteer in The Gambia.
Trinity hosts a workshop to introduce student-centered learning techniques and methods to teachers in The Gambia.

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

Learning the local language has helped immensely with connecting to people in my community, and in helping them learn about me. There is a typical greeting that begins almost every conversation or is used in passing. It has helped me start conversations with people and get to know them, and vice versa.

Cooking and enjoying food with others is a universal experience of spending quality time with people and showing them how much you care. My host mothers were kind enough to patiently teach me the local foods they make. I have also been able to make food for people in the village who were sick, as a sign of caring and wanting them to get better. Sharing meals with families has helped me become a part of the community.

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

One highlight has been seeing teachers implement tips and strategies I’ve offered them. I’ve seen them grow as teachers and I see the students benefiting. To witness children’s attitudes towards learning change for the better, and to see them excited to come to school and participating more in class—those are certainly high points in my service.

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

I enjoy how interested and involved people are in my little village community. Everyone knows one another, everyone helps each other. Essentially, we are all one big family. It’s comforting to hear people greet me by name and ask how I am as I go by. Seeing how the village supports the school staff and children is heartwarming. Their care and willingness to help out motivates me to do what I can.

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

Communication is key. This really hit home for me when I was having a hard time adjusting to the heat and not feeling my best. At first, pride kept me from telling my host family, but they easily picked up on how I was feeling. When I finally told them, they were so sympathetic and understanding. They gave me gentle reminders and tricks for staying cooler in the African sun. Asking for help is not a weakness; reaching out to others, connecting—these things build relationships that can help you become a better version of yourself.

If all you can give is 10 percent, but you give all of that 10 percent, you are still giving 100 percent. If all you can do is be present, the people will still remember and appreciate you being there. You should not sacrifice your health or well-being—doing what you can is enough.

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

I spend it with my host family or exploring surrounding areas. In the mornings, after eating breakfast with my family, my host father usually asks me to brew attaya, a concentrated sweet green tea that is considered the national drink of The Gambia. I follow my siblings around the village, sit and chat with another family, or play games with kids. Sometimes I sit at home with my host moms and grandma, helping to crack ground nuts or prepare a meal, or I’ll read a book and enjoy their company. During farming season, I join my family in the fields to prep, weed, or harvest the crops. Exploring usually entails a weekend trip into the biggest town in my area, where I’ll try different food stands or look at different shops to see their wares and buy gifts to bring back home.

Trinity and a community member create and sell traditional Fula accessories for community fundraising efforts..
Trinity and a community member make traditional Fula accessories to support community fundraising efforts.

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

I want to explore more of my host country—to try different foods, visit sites of national importance, and overall enjoy things outside my village. Sometimes I’m also able to bring new things back to my village so community members can also experience them.

9. Once you finish your service, what will you do differently when you return to the U.S.?

I will treat people and things with new appreciation. Living in Africa without running water or electricity, and running a school with little to no resources, gives me newfound appreciation for the things I have and have access to in the U.S. I have also discovered that people are an invaluable resource, and I hope to maintain ongoing relationships with people in my community after service.