After three years of serving as a rural education development volunteer in Zambia, where he taught English, Shou Yuan headed for rural Japan to continue teaching English. We talked over Skype during his recent visit home to the US, and explored the similarities and differences of teaching English and living in two very different countries.
Photos from Shou’s Story
Shou Yuan’s Peace Corps Story
Where and when did you serve? What did you do?
I was a rural education development volunteer in Zambia from 2013-2015. I then extended for a third year in 2015-2016. I was an English teacher at a rural primary school for the first two years in Luapula Province, in the northwestern region of the country bordering the DRC. My third year extension was in Mfuwe, a town in Eastern Province. I lived on the edge of South Luangwa National Park, which is a famous destination in Zambia for its abundant wildlife. My work there developing/implementing an early childhood literacy program for elementary schools, along with working at a community library.
What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?
Sharing a meal with my Zambian host family underneath their enormous umbrella tree.
What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?
Having a black mamba snake drop down from the ceiling of my pit latrine while I was “recovering” from intestinal problems.
What do you miss about Peace Corps?
I miss the camaraderie stemming from shared experiences I had with other volunteers in Zambia. I made some incredible lifelong friendships there with amazing people.
What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?
Nature is brutal and unforgiving. It’s a privilege to be insulated from it with man-made development. Lack of modern resources like electricity, clean water, and education hold communities back in ways that are hard to explain and heartbreaking to witness.
Do you have a favorite quote or local saying?”
Enjoy this episode? Then be sure to leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcast and help others discover this show.