I’ve been in DC now for two weeks, so I figured it was time to post a blog about my experiences and first impressions about life in the capital city. I arrived in DC on the night of the 6th, after attending the beautiful wedding of my friend Amy. It was a great wedding, and I was glad I was able to be part before I left.
I am living in DC with another friend of mine, Amy (different Amy). Amy and I have known each other since we were in 4-H together all through school. Amy has been out here for a couple of years, so it is nice to have someone who knows their way around and can help me out a little. Her house is in the NW sector, about two miles from my office. It’s a nice walk, and there is also a bus that runs from about half a block away to Dupont Circle, which is about a 15 minute walk to my office. It takes about the same amount of time to get to my office whether I walk or take the bus, but it has been pretty nice, so I have been walking most days.
Currently just over 600 people work at Peace Corps at the headquarters. It is a little different than my last office, where there were six people. I have my own space, basically a cubicle. The Communications office is on the 8th floor with the Director’s Office. Everyone has been really great and welcoming. I am currently the only RPCV in the Communications office, but overall the headquarters is about half RPCV and half non-RPCV. I haven’t met any other RPCVs from Zambia, but I know there are a few in the office. There is even another guy from Iowa who works on the 8th floor. Peace Corps is a really fun place to work, and everyone has been really friendly.
One of the first things I helped out with for work was the Acting Director’s trip to Ames. Randomly, the week I started was the week before she was heading to Iowa State to give a speech as part of the World Food Prize festivities. I was able to pitch in a little with some details about Iowa State (where to park, how to get around campus). The focus of the speech was on food security and the Feed the Future program that Peace Corps and USAID have been partnering on during the past year. I believe I got a mention in her speech as a RPCV and ISU alum. I even got to have my picture on the Peace Corps’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/peacecorps). It was pretty awesome.
I have been working on a number of things already and have been learning the ropes
around the office. I have written a couple of press releases (hopefully one will be posted on the website this week) and even wrote a blog post for USAID about the visit to Iowa State. I have learned how to post information on the website and create lists of media contacts. Also, I have been helping the interns (we have four interns in the press office) gather the press clips each day. The press clips are a compilation of all the stories about Peace Corps or volunteers which are then sent out to all Peace Corps employees.
So far work has been really great and I am looking forward to the rest of my time in DC. I haven’t had too much time to check out the rest of DC. I have gone to the Iowa State football gamewatches at one of the bars, which has been great. It has been a great chance to meet some other ISU fans. I have figured out most of the basics – how to get to/from work, the grocery store, and some of the restaurants around my office.
In the upcoming weeks, I will continue to work on writing press releases and other information. The list of Top Colleges and Top States will be coming out soon, and this is always a big story for Peace Corps. I will also be helping out with some more stuff for Feed the Future and for the Combined Federal Campaign (fundraising events). Working all day is exhausting, but I am really enjoying it.