Name: Melissa “Stewart” Mills
Recruiting Area: Kansas, Nebraska
Years of Service: 2011-2013
Country of Service: Cambodia
What type of work did you do in Peace Corps? I taught English with a co-teacher to 7th graders at a public high school.
What was the most unusual food or custom you encountered? In the late afternoon and evenings, there would be food stalls along the main road selling fruit smoothies (tuk a lucks), ice with coconut milk (puh-iam), and fertilized duck eggs (bong tia). My host family loved to get the fertilized duck eggs as a treat – mix them with salt, pepper, and greens then eat the egg out of the shell with a small spoon.
Describe a defining event during your service. During my training, I got to meet and learn from the volunteers who had already been in Cambodia for a year or even two. This gave us new volunteers the opportunity to ask questions and hear real stories about life in Cambodia. One volunteer gave me a piece of advice that helped me keep a positive outlook throughout my service, “Never compare yourself or your experience to another volunteer, everyone will measure success differently. And your time is Peace Corps is uniquely your own.”
One thing you want people to know about Peace Corps. Becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer gives you a unique opportunity to become a part of a new community unlike your own, to learn from the people you meet, and to let them learn from you. It is a job unlike any other – where being able to accurately negotiate vegetable prices at the market and having coffee with your co-teacher to lesson-plan or just talk, means a successful work day.