For those of us who are wanderlusters at heart, there is a persistent internal voice that whispers promises of something more: more than the cubicle in which we dwell, more than the paycheck we receive for it, more than the grind most of us resign ourselves to as a means to an end. But what do you do when the means come up woefully short of the end you truly desire?
Meet Paul Voigt, a midwest native and communications professional who began scaling the corporate ladder, and realized it was time to take the path less traveled instead. Paul has graciously agreed to guest blog periodically, sharing his experiences with us from his new home, in Ethiopia.
|The little kids on my street get excited every time they see me.
It’s one of my daily joys. Contributed photo.
I’ve had some good jobs in the last 20 years. After college I landed at the Menards corporate office (a Midwest home improvement store chain) working on radio and TV commercials. Then I moved to Minneapolis to work at the Best Buy corporate office. After seven years I started getting restless. I was making good money but a career in Corporate America would never fulfill me. I decided to quit my job and live off of my savings while searching for a job that resonated with me.
| I run the English Club at a teacher college Shambu, Ethiopia.
We meet in a beat-up spare room with only a chalkboard but the students are great.
Joining the Peace Corps is a process that typically takes 12-18 months. First you fill out a detailed application and then people are selected for a personal interview with a Peace Corps recruiter. If you’re qualified, the recruiter nominates you for a position. Months go by. The final step is the assignment when your recruiter calls to congratulate you on being accepted to the Peace Corps. “Where am I going?” They won’t tell you. Your assignment comes in a UPS envelope. Ah, the anticipation as you wait to discover which developing country you’ll be living in for the next two years!
My assignment arrived within a few days. I tore into the envelope like a kid at Christmas. Earlier in the process I had been nominated to teach English in sub-Saharan Africa, the countries you typically think of as “Africa”…Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi. The nomination is not a guarantee, but a pretty reasonable indication of where you’re headed. I opened the folder fully hoping and expecting to see the word “Kenya” on my assignment document.
|Peace Corps trainees stay with a host family for two months before becoming official volunteers.
My four little brothers kept me busy!
Every day in Ethiopia brings some struggle, some adventure, some frustration, and some joy. It’s a different life for sure. I have much to share in words and pictures about the people and culture of this fascinating and ancient country.
|I live in a small room of a mud house. When you paint mud a cheerful blue, you can’t even tell it’s mud.
Plus it’s a great natural insulator. Contributed photo.
Akkam ooltan (ahk-kahm OHL-tahn). Have a good day everyone!