f i s h r i v e r c a n y o n

1 round-trip train ride. 5 days. 8 Peace Corps Volunteers. 500 pictures. 75 kilometers.

Perks of being a Peace Corps Volunteers include opportunities to travel and see the world. Namibia is a country of contrasting beauty, a sentiment included in the nation’s anthem.

Last August, seven volunteers and I took on the challenge of hiking the second largest canyon in the world, Fish River Canyon. Located in southern Namibia, Fish River Canyon hiking trail stretches about 90 kilometers and is one of the most visited attractions in Namibia.



Fish River Canyon hiking trail contains a steep descent, boulders, rocks, deep sand, slippery river crossings, baboons, snakes, scorpions, and wild game throughout the canyon.





Being a beginner hiker, here are some things to consider if you plan on taking on Fish River Canyon.

Tips if you plan to hike Fish River Canyon:

Print a route map to carry along. Luckily, one person in our group thought to do that, otherwise, we’d probably still be hiking to this day.

Know your fitness level. Although minimal hiking experience is needed, the trails are a mixture of stones, deep sand, grass, bedrock and in some places steep ascends or descends. It requires moderate fitness level. You will be spending the major of the days walking under the blistering sun, which can add to the difficulty of the hike. Many groups finish the hike in 5 days, but taking the shortcuts can cut about a day and a half off of the hike.

Food and drink

A water filter pump is a huge advantage. Water purification tablets if not.

5-day meal plan for Fish River Canyon


You can either sleep in the open or in a lightweight tent. We had a mix in our group, and those sleeping in tents got the better sleep. The wind picked up at night and sand in the face isn’t a great thing to wake up to. Take a super-warm sleeping bag regardless.


❤ Krystal


letter home – march/april/may 2017.

Hello All—-

I haven’t forgotten about you! I have been both busy and not busy at the same time. How is that even possibly?

In March, I joined a couple Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and a Namibian friend to Cape Town, South Africa for a relaxing vacation and we also attended PRIDE. Recently, Peace Corps Namibia, with the overwhelming support of former Global Peace Corps Director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet (I met her last July), formed Diversity Resource Partners (DRP). As you can imagine, PCVs join Peace Corps during all stages in their lives. From recently college grads to retirees and many volunteers in between. Serving as a black American volunteer has its challenges, including times where I must “prove” my Americaness and ability to do things as well or even better than white Americans, of course considering my skills and knowledge. While this remains my main struggle during service, many other volunteers face challenges in being open about their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political affiliations, etc., which can make it a very lonely place for a volunteer. We created DRP to provide a place for volunteers to connect and have a place to address these challenges and provide a sounding board in how to deal with challenges (respectfully and tastefully) in our communities (with other volunteers and our actually Namibian communities). This has definitely been the one time in my life that I have truly thought about my physical identity on a daily basis, whether people are giving me the run around because I don’t appear American enough for them, to subtleties such as watching a cashier hand a fellow volunteer their change while placing their left hand on their right elbow (a sign of respect) and that same cashier sliding my change to me on the counter, or having an HCN approach a group of volunteers and shake everyone’s hand except for mine, are moments that are hard to shake and leave a lasting impression. I can’t say most days I thought about that in the States. DRP provides a place for me to talk about these challenges so they don’t eat me up inside.


I also made a trip home in March. I’m kinda regretting it now. It just made me miss home too much. I loved seeing everyone while I was home, don’t get me wrong. I also have overall enjoyed my time here, but it just makes it easier to be homesick thinking of the things I am missing out on now to be here. But, in the same ways, one year passed so quickly, I expect my last year of service to be the same. I made a Facebook post recently about things I missed in the States. Thinking back, it was such a superficial list. My best friend, Carrie Hooton, challenged me by responding, “Things I miss by not going to Namibia: (Krys fill this in, top 7)”, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Blog post in the works.

April was filled with meetings and lots of transitioning in Peace Corps Namibia. My last email I talked about struggles of the health program. All of the health volunteers were invited to Windhoek (pronounced Wind hook or Vind hook), for a 3-day conference on restructuring the program. Unfortunately, due to continuous staff changes, and lack of support and partnership with the Ministry of Health, being a health volunteer has been, I’ll just say it, HARD!!! Many of us are in clinics in rural villages where English is not spoken or spoken well. So, when a PCVs shows up, the clinics see us as if we’re creating more work, as opposed to helping to alleviate it (even though these clinics have agreed in advance to host a volunteer). So, many volunteers have to be extremely creative and flexible. From the meeting, we were able to come to a consensus of what a true health volunteers role should be and not only that, we suggested new ways recruit volunteers to Namibia because the current application was in some ways misleading.

At the end of April, I was involved in the first Camp O-YEAH in my region. Because of my food science background, I was pretty much the camp cook. Josie knows, I hated food management! My food management rotation literally brought me to tears. Well, I ended up planning the menu for a 5-day health camp- including requisition, recipes, menu, and the US to metric conversions! Most meals turned out great. Campers were happy as well as the facilitators. The campers were able to try new foods that they don’t eat at home, and let’s just say, EVERYONE LOVES TACO TUESDAYS!

During the month of May, the schools were on holiday. The schools here are year-round (somewhat), so there are month-long breaks during May and December. I didn’t have much planned, so the principal at the secondary school, Ms. Elago, invited me to her home for a few days. It was nice to get away for awhile. We relaxed, picked lemons from her lemon tree, and talked about projects for the upcoming term. I did make another trip to Rundu located in northeast Namibia, for the going away party of the group who arrived in Namibia a year before me. My friend, Steffi, was a business volunteer in Namibia. Recently, NPR did a fantastic reflective piece on her service, you should read it! She’s heading to NYU in the fall.

Next weekend, I am heading to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to run a 7.5K (it was only R45~ $3.50 USD). I am probably going to bungee jump, Mom. Just be warned now. Then, later this month, my cohort group meets for our Mid-service conference, marking our one year at our sites.

I hope this email blast wasn’t full of complaints. I mean, like always I take the good with the bad, and that’s normal for any job, whether it’s brewing my life away at Starbucks or roughing it while trying to balance cross-cultural interactions. Some days are good, some days are challenging. The most important thing is learning from each experience, amiright?

Books I’ve read this year (I am always open for suggestions):
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowlings
We Should All be Feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Columbine, Dave Cullen
The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World, Chris Gulliebeau
Push, Sapphire
Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders, Jason Carter
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah

Do I like reading? I don’t know. But, after reading some of the books I’ve read in the last year, I am convinced I could write a book about my life and sell a lot of copies.

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I met the Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Haufiku. He came to the health camp and spoke with the youth. He is an intelligent man and so kind. Invited us to his house from dinner the following evening. In US terms, this was like meeting the Surgeon General of the US.

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I took a photo of a taxi rank, where you should haul a taxi from, but this is not the reality. I still hate hiking in this country!

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I have a roommate, it’s a mouse and it likes to eat my produce.

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Rainy season is over and everything is dry and dead, again!

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We harvested all of our mahangu for the year, the kids are using sticks to get the grain off of the reeds.

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Our dog, Brownie, had 13 puppies two weeks ago, I haven’t decided if I am keeping one yet.

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I passed out some bears at a local kindergarten. Bears were donated by the Mother Bear Project. If you know how to crochet or knit and want to find a way to put a smile on a child’s face, check out their website.

i choose to stay.

Last year, I wrote a post about FOMO (read: the truth about fomo as a peace corps volunteer). I mentioned how being a Volunteer means missing out on birthdays and other significant milestones back home. But, there is one thing I left out.


Because the thought of death still makes me uncomfortable, although death is as natural as life.

On Sunday, February 11, my Gramps was placed in hospice care. He passed away early in the morning on Saturday, February 17, the day after my 31st birthday. He was 87 years old.

With only 3 months remaining of my service, I choose to stay in Namibia. This was not an easy decision to make.

Throughout the course of the week, my days were filled with what can only be described as signs from God. Signs of comfort and peace and understanding. This helped guide me through the grief of being away from home during such a significant time for my family.



I choose to stay.

Because I want to continue your legacy of service to others.
Because I want to remember your glances as if you already knew you were looking at me for the last time.
Because I want to remember your big white smile and gentle laugh.
Because I know you wanted me to remember your life and not your death.
Because no matter how far away I am in distance, you’ll always be in my heart.

Dedicating my Peace Corps Service to my Gramps
Cary Holland, Jr.
November 13, 1930 – February 17, 2018

❤ Krystal

moving into 2018.

This year Moving Wright Along was viewed in 68 countries!

Whether you’re a long time follower or a new friend, thank you for your support in 2017.

I want to wish you a blessed holiday season wherever you reside in the world!

Subscribe and follow for more stories in 2018 as I wrap up the final six months of my Peace Corps service and prepare for my reintegration home.

❤ Krystal

youth empowerment workshop

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My friend, Zoe, is a Community Economic Development (CED) volunteer. Her host organization approached her about tackling the issues of high youth pregnancy rates leading to increased school dropouts, lack of sexual reproductive health (SRH) education, and lack of motivation and education for youth to plan for their careers and long-term success.

As a special treat, Zoe helped me write this post.

Your Future, Your Choice

Many times men are left out of the conversation about SRH, citing it as only a woman’s “problem.” A portion of the workshop addressed the stigma around sex and pregnancy which is useful knowledge for all. With the endorsement of her supervisor, Patrick Masiziani, Zoe created a pilot program called “Your Future, Your Choice,” to address SRH to both men and women to help empower all to make good choices regarding their sexual health and encourage youth to look ahead to a bright career.

Peace Corps Volunteers are highly encouraged to collaborate with volunteers across sectors. Zoe and Patrick invited me to co-facilitate the health aspect of the program with Apollonia, an HIV/AIDS Trainer from a local vocational technical centre (VTC). Together, we debunked myths about sex and pregnancy, provided information and proper instruction on protection and contraceptives, as well as tools for having a healthy relationship.


The career development portion was led by Peace Corps Volunteers Rachael, Justin, and Zoe.

In Namibia, the reality is that many business owners enter into an extremely over-saturated market selling produce, airtime, and other common goods and services.

Rachael, Justin, and Zoe led discussions on finding your career path, developing career plans, career preparations which included resume/interview readiness and goal setting. Justin also led a discussion on financial stability with an emphasis on savings.

About 70 youth were in attendance at the 3-hour workshop. We sadly had to turn some away who hadn’t pre-registered for the event. I like to believe that everyone left the workshop feeling empowered in their health choices and future careers.

“On a daily basis we see issues such as rape, sexual abuse, and cases of domestic and gender based violence. In our daily papers, on the TV news, and even first hand, we witness these events. I want to believe a workshop of this nature has addressed these issues and empowered trainees with ways to deal if they find themselves in such situations.” – Patrick Masiziani

Zoe’s thoughts leading up to the workshop:

This was my first time planning an event as a Volunteer and also my first collaboration. I wanted to everything to go as smooth as possible in hopes that trainees would see value in the workshop and staff would support an annual event of this nature. I was so grateful to have the support of other volunteers across the CED and Health sectors, because they were able to help fill in the gaps where I had little or no experience. And that’s why collaborations are so great. They really helped me work through logistics like measurement and evaluation, reporting, and most importantly, creating content to share during the workshop.

Leading up to the workshop was a bit hectic. First, our centre got word that our electricity may be cut off which would mean no lights, presentation, or air con in a room of 80 people. Because this wouldn’t have been a conducive learning environment, we agreed we would postpone if there was no electricity. Luckily, my supervisor worked tirelessly to get the issue resolved and we were able to continue with the event as planned. The morning of, I learned we did not have the proper equipment to use with the projector. Things we did have included (1) a compatible laptop with no charger (2) an incompatible laptop with a charger (3) an incompatible HDMI cable. Ah, the joys of technology. After about 2 hours and with the help of a few trainers, we finally found a VGA cable that connected to the laptop with a charger. Two hours before the start time, one of our facilitators told me she couldn’t make it anymore and I almost had a meltdown. Turns out she was joking.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the workshop went, despite the scramble prior. The health portion was especially engaging for trainees, and they asked question after question about what seemed to be first-hand experiences. The fact that they felt comfortable enough to ask these questions in front of a group of 70+ others gave me confidence that we accomplished our goal in making the forum a “safe space” experience. In fact, their curiosity on subjects like healthy relationships and voluntary medical male circumcision made me realize that these topics need to be addressed more often. Krystal’s approach in opening the workshop played a big role in their comfortability, too. She started out talking about how “we’re all adults” and how treating them like they were all practicing abstinence was unrealistic. Because it’s true! They’re having sex, its reality. Playing that angle was key because it made them feel like she was talking with them, not at them.

Unfortunately, the amount of time spent on health limited our time to discuss career preparation topics. Originally we had talked about a four hour event, but ended up being limited to three so as not to interfere with other classes that trainees were required to attend. After we wrapped the health portion and took a break, we were only left with 40 minutes for goal setting, budgeting, CV and interviewing tips. While this wasn’t ideal, I’m glad we didn’t rush health because that’s a topic I’m definitely not as knowledgeable in and I’m always available to help trainees edit CVs and apply for interviews. In the future, I would make it a two day event so that we have enough time to cover material, do activities and answer all questions.

I definitely learned a lot during this workshop and have identified numerous way to improve next time around. My advice to volunteers who want to host an event or something similar is to just go for it. It might be a success or it might be a failure, but either way you’ll learn a lot in the process. And chances are that, even despite potential chaos, your colleagues and community will appreciate the effort put in.

❤ Krystal

blog it home 2017.


Forgive me. I have to get a little textbooky with you. But, just briefly. I mean, you could just skip over the beginning, but then you pose the risk of this post not making much sense.

Okay, you made it through the introduction, so just read the three points. Goal 3 is most pertinent to this post, but 1 and 2 are important as well. So, I guess after you read 3, go back and read 1 and 2. Now, read them in order. Perfect! It flows better that way.

Peace Corps Goals:

1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans.

The first two goals are what PCVs live and breathe day in and day out. They say being a PCV is a 24/7 job and that is certainly true. The last goal, commonly referred to as the Third Goal, is what Moving Wright Along is about- sharing the culture of Namibia with y’all back home and I hope you’re enjoying it.

Easier access to the internet changed the game in Third Goal communication. Never did I imagine while being 8,000-miles away from home I would still be able to connect with my friends and family back home and feel like, in some cases, I’ve never left.

The power of social media via Facebook, Instagram, WordPress (all my favorite platforms) has changed things.

Since 2013, Peace Corps has hosted the Blog it Home contest. Winners were then invited to Washington, D.C. for one week to promote the Third Goal in a series of intercultural presentations, professional development events, and other activities around the city.

Blog it Home has had over 1,000 PCVs participate since 2013. So, this year, with a fresh look, Peace Corps posts globally are hosting their own Blog it Home competitions. This means more bloggers, more winners, and more fantastic Third Goal stories!

But, no trip to D.C., but it’s still okay. :/

I have decided to enter Moving Wright Along into the running for Blog it Home in Namibia.

So, what I would love from you:


Okay, I lied.

Just keep on reading Moving Wright Along. After you read, comment. After you comment, share. Although winners are not chosen based on readership, I think it’s important that I am reaching my audience to promote cross-cultural understanding.

If you’re new here, check out some of my reader’s favorites:

And if you want, check out a few of my favorites:

My blog will be judged on the following criteria: Demonstrated commitment to increasing intercultural understanding (40%), cultural richness of blog (30%), quality of writing (15%), quality of media content (15%).

So, I need you, yes you, to continue to read and engage with me on all of my Moving Wright Along platforms.

I want to thank y’all for reading, sharing, liking and following my blog, Instagram, and Facebook page. I used to think when people from around the world read my blog, it was by sheer accident. I’m coming to terms with the fact that people across the globe actually subscribe to and read my blog, intentionally, and that’s pretty cool.

Follow Moving Wright Along, Peace Corps Namibia, and Peace Corps on Instagram: @movingwrightalong@peacecorpsnamibia, and  @peacecorps

Like Moving Wright Along and Peace Corps Namibia and  Peace Corps on Facebook

❤ Krystal