My family in my village Garbey Kourou

My Best Friend Fatti at home.

Planting a tree in the Community Garden

Name: Lauren Maloney
U-M Affiliation: Student

Where do you work?

Conservation Biology Masters Student

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2008-2009

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Niger

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

I was an agriculture volunteer. My main projects were working with the women's group in my village, Garbey Kourou. We planted a Moringa tree plantation and made sesame products and oil.

Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?

Fatti Yaye was my best friend in the village. She was patient with me when I was learning Zarma, the local language. She helped me integrate into the community and she welcomed me into her home. She invited me to dinner every night despite living on less than 3 dollars a day. I watched her children grow and she became a sister to me.

In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?

Peace Corps shaped my future by helping me to decide to attend graduate school at University of Michigan for conservation biology.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?

Yes, you should join the Peace Corps. It is a challenging and enriching experience where you receive more than you give. The people you meet and the experiences you gain cannot be explained in words and ultimately must be experienced first hand.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

Seeing the world from another perspective has brought meaning and understanding to my life.

What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?

Patience. I learned to slow life down and take a step back and appreciate everything that is going on in my life. The people of Niger had so little and yet they were happy with their lives. I have learned to fully appreciate my amazing life.

Back to stories index.