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  • Writer's pictureLynn Nestingen

Digging Up Dreams: Rediscovering Purpose with the Peace Corps

Updated: 5 days ago

Why am I here anyway, you might wonder?

It wasn't to escape the campaign season or evade my other life. (although, it is certainly convenient to be here for fall elections!) Instead, it's a dream from my 20s that I've unearthed after being a widow for the past four years.

At its core, our mission here is to put into practice peace and friendship. But according to the Peace Corps mission, we are also here to assist countries in meeting their need for trained individuals, foster a better understanding of Americans among the communities we serve, and cultivate a deeper understanding of other cultures among Americans.

My personal (and perhaps selfish) goal is to be part of and/or contribute to something bigger than myself without knowing it...maybe something I do will "vibrate through eternity." That's the hope and my bigger why, at least.

I am considered a "Response Volunteer," (PCRV) which means we serve short-term, high-impact assignments for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months depending on the specific assignment. The PCRV program is a relatively new program that started in 1996, but the original 1961 Peace Corps volunteers that most people are familiar with generally serve for two years. In theory I will return after one year - May 13, 2025 - but there could possibly be a "renewal option," so who knows...

My specific role is as a "Grant Writing Training Specialist" for the Department of Lifelong Learning, Arts, and Culture for the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

This department oversees four directorates:

Adult Education, Library & Archives, Culture & Artifacts, and Arts . All of these are housed in the Government Building (to the left) located on "Luther Street!"

I will help with their overall grant writing process from identifying potential funding sources to co-writing proposals as well as offering training sessions to the Department staff.

Seems like a perfect fit, so far, for me and I'm grateful for this opportunity to use my 35 years of experiences in higher education and arts management to serve in this specific role here in Namibia.

I first want to acknowledge my Peace Corps inspiration, Ann and Mike Moore, who both served in the early '60s when the Peace Corps first began.

Before leaving the States, I had the privilege of visiting Ann and Mike, two talented musicians whom I met during my time as Executive Director for the Evergreen Chorale in the mid 90s.

Ann was PC volunteer #33 and she met and eventually married Mike in Togo where they both served for two years. As a nurse in Togo, Ann observed local women carrying their babies held snuggly in a body sling. And just like that she invented the original "Snugli!" How cool and inspiring is that?!?

Click here to a newspaper article to read more about their inspiring story.

Ann also shared the story behind these photos that hang on their wall when you first enter their house in Evergreen. It's obvious their service in West Africa had a lasting impact on their own lives through a beautiful marriage to the millions/billions of babies who were ever carried in a Snugli around the world!

We love you Ann and Mike - thank you for being such an inspiration to so many, including me!!!

But at the end of the day and if you really want to know the truth, it was Rebekah and her fearless passion for travel that gave me the confidence to take on this adventure. Her willingness to embrace all that the world has to offer is truly inspiring. I am in awe of how much she has already traversed the globe at such a young age, and I have no doubt that many more exciting destinations await her.

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