camp o-yeah.

Camp YEAH (Youth Exploring & Achieving in Health) is a health camp hosted by Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts in Namibia. Each year, in-school youth apply and are then invited to a week-long camp to engage in topic discussions and activities that will empower them in making healthy choices regarding their health and the health of their communities.

This was the inaugural year of Camp O-YEAH (the ‘O’ stands for O-Land) which was hosted in Oshakati. 18 youth from across the four regions of O-land (Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, and Ohangwena regions) gathered for a week of activities involving teamwork, goal setting, and of course, health awareness and education.

Victoria’s very first time in a swimming pool.

This year, I was able to bring Victoria as a camper to Camp O-YEAH. Victoria is a grade 12 learner in my village. Although quiet and soft-spoken she always has a way to light up a room. She wakes up early each morning to walk 3k to school. She spends hours studying under a torch or lantern, because there is no electricity at her home. As the winter days have become shorter, this gives her less and less daylight to not only get home from school each day, but to complete her chores while continuing to make time to prioritize her studies. Victoria wants to become a tour guide when grows up and has determined the path to get there.

During my service, I have asked myself many times, “Am I doing the right things the wrong way?” I’ve struggle with community “buy-in.” I’ve struggled with finding counterparts who see the bigger picture and realize it begins with smalll daily actions. Victoria has been one who sees the bigger picture.

Camp O-Yeah opened up a world of possibilities for Victoria.

On day 1 of Camp O-Yeah, each camper was given a dream book. They were told to decorate their books anyway they wanted to. Within their dream books, they could write anything they wanted inside— thoughts on life, studies, draw pictures or write poems— anything. Their books were for their eyes only, and campers could choose to share the contents of their books if they wished.

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On a few ocassions, Victoria shared a few entries of her dream book with me. The content she shared with me made me realize even moreso how beautiful and courageous this young lady is. Each day she battles many obstacles to receive an education, change her fate, and have a voice in her future.

So, whether or not I ever find out if I am doing anything right during my last year of service, there is one thing I know: Victoria came into my Peace Corps service at the right time, and if in any way I am able to impact her life in a positive way, that will make all of this worth it.

❤ Krystal

year of transition.

Do you have a familiar face? Every few months I meet a person who either knows someone who looks like me, talks like me, or both. I for one like to think of myself as a one-of-a-kind gem or precious stone, such as a crystal. See what I did there? But, ever since I was 13 or 14, I’ve been told I have a “twin”. Her name may be Kendra and she seems to follow me from coast to coast. This year, I found out she previously worked for the rehab facility I interned at and today, I found out she used to workout at my gym. I have no clue if she’s the same person, but it’s amusing to think I could have a look alike out there. So, Kendra or whoever you are, I would like meet you (and possibly judge if we really look alike). I personally like to credit Atong for being my long lost twin. A woman can dream, right? image IMG_6212 Any who! My calves hurt. And, so do my arms. My everything hurts. In the spirit of getting back on track with my workouts, I decided to hire a personal trainer. I’ve always been a person to rely on my feelings on whether to workout and eat right. The quality (and quantity, for that matter) of my training and dieting often times lands in the the in control of my moods. You heard me, a women can have M-O-O-D-S. Plural not singular. Take notes.

Here’s a few things I learned about being a “feeler” when it comes to working out (adapted from BodyBuilding.com): 1) Easily discouraged.  *I want results sooner rather than later. If I don’t see changes after a couple workouts, I am usually on to the next best thing.

2) Eat or drink for comfort. No limits. *Beer, cookies, cookies, cookies, and cookies. 

3) Self-conscious in the weight room. *I think everyone is watching me do something wrong, I mean isn’t that the reason for all those mirrors?

4) Extremely enthusiastic, so I train hard—maybe too hard. When I’m not enthusiastic, I struggle to get to the gym at all. *Many times my competitiveness and enthusiasm lead to injury because I push myself beyond what I am truly capable of doing and the cycle of pity begins.

Maybe, you’re like me. If you are, there is hope. Just like every other aspect of life: MAKE. A. PLAN. That has been the biggest hurdle for me. But, even one step pass that- Be proud of yourself. EACH. STEP. OF. THE. WAY. For myself, I think a lot of my discouragement comes from comparing my current self to what I was at my “best” self. I forget to compare all the training, sweat, blood, tears, sore muscles, aches, and pains. I need to remember to be proud of myself for each step in reaching my goals.

Limits. I need to learn that indulging is not a bad thing. But, it should not control my life. Excessive anything is usually not a good thing.

Be myself. Who cares if I am doing it wrong? I’m trying. There are so many resources on how to do things right. But, how will I ever learn if I don’t make a few mistakes along the way. I’ve heard that one the your worse enemy is reading about the world, and not going out to see for yourself. I, for one was guilty of reading and hoarding knowledge about how to do something, but never making the initial step into actually doing it. Seriously, I read about yoga for years, but it wasn’t until this past semester I finally took a class.

Don’t take on the world (too quickly). Yeah, I wanna look good by my 10-year reunion and all, but be smart. By default, I typically end up as the “team leader” among my friends. For example, in January two of my girlfriends and I decided we wanted to run a half marathon in April. You can imagine my enthusiasm when by January 24th I had already calculated about 50 miles and by January 31, I could barely walk. Really?! And from February to May I sat on the couch and ate cookies. Pace yourself, girl!

So, short story long. This is my year of transition. 28 years old will be a good year (even though I spent two months thinking I was 29), and it begins with the steps I decide to make each and everyday. Today is a good day for a good day. Today is also a good day to decide to have a good year! image