Ep #037: Zachary Segal, Swaziland 2015-2017

Zachary Segal served as a Youth and Development volunteer, requiring him to take on many roles in his community. He gardened, built a library, and worked with community members with HIV/AIDS to develop small business projects. His service, however, had plenty of downtime filled with podcasts, walks through a neighboring game park, and sunsets enjoyed on his veranda.

On this Episode:

  • Connecting with community members very different from yourself
  • Leaving a legacy of his American presence in his village through the community library and mural
  • Fulfilling a promise to two young men in his community, once they passed their exams

Photos from Zachary’s Story

Zachary Segal’s Peace Corps Story

Where and when did you serve? What did you do?

Swaziland 15′-17′. I was a Youth and Development volunteer. My work changed week by week. Often, I would spend a few days teaching English and math at the local school. I also managed a small garden by a riverbed. At least once a week I met with a group organized by a local nurse and we cooked an aloe-based vaseline and liquid soap with the intention to sell. This group was around 14 members and everyone was HIV/AIDS positive. I ran a weekly girls club called GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and taught life skills. One week some other PCVs and some community members came together to build a playground. The amount of time I focused on each project really did vary by week.

What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?

We did a Books for Africa project and started a library at the school. My favorite memory is the day we painted the library and all 200 plus school children checked out the artwork and were smiling ear to ear. We had some highly skilled Swazi artists come and it was like nothing they had ever seen before. At the moment we had the first graders get their hands full of yellow and orange paint and put hand prints on the wall.

What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?

I distinctly remember one day, maybe 24 months in, and I was carrying a heavy pack and taking public transportation. I remember sitting in a lot, waiting for about 2 hours before the bus was scheduled to leave. I was fatigued and tired of carrying heavy things while in 100-degree heat. I just wanted to be home.

What do you miss about the Peace Corps?

I miss the fulfilling mission of Peace Corps. I felt like the actions I took were important and had potential to help my community. I felt responsible to my community. I am in graduate school now, and I’ve lost that “sense of purpose.”

(I also miss some of the delicious food)

What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?

The world is so big and vast, and few people, in the developed world or the developing, either have the opportunity or take the opportunity to explore the world outside their own bubble.

Do you have a favorite quote or local saying?

Mehlo Medzala “Old Eyes” it means it’s been a while since I’ve seen you.




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