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She pursued a degree in Sports Medicine, expecting to attend physical therapy school, but her senior year, for her Honors Capstone project, she went on a service trip to Haiti, where she became interested in food insecurity and its relationship to physical injury. After graduation, she spent a year working on farms all over the world to gain the necessary experience for the Peace Corps, saying she was “allured by the idea of traveling, submerging [herself] into another culture and language and assisting people in development.” Through the organization WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)—a work-exchange that trades up to six hours of work a day for food, accommodation, and knowledge—Coleman stayed at places like a permaculture teaching institute, a family vineyard, and a biodynamic blueberry farm, to name a few.
Life in Zambia is different every day; Coleman collects water and firewood, tends a garden, and bikes to the market for food. She says she “[loves] the variety of work,” where she “promotes food security practices that conserve natural resources” with a variety of people and organizations, like local farmers, District Forestry and Agricultural officers, and local NGOs. Along with teaching literacy, English, and helping to provide Malaria, HIV, and early pregnancy education, the Peace Corps affords even more opportunities for travel while volunteering—the first week of November Coleman traveled to Malawi! While Coleman knows her work might not make a visibly large mark on the community, she says, “I do hope though that I can inspire people to continue to make incremental steps to increase self-capacity in areas of food security, personal health, and income generation.”
Above all, the Peace Corps has been, according to Coleman, “a beautiful life experience where you get to experience life in a way different culture and lifestyle, get to see beautiful places you never knew existed, make positive changes in a new community that feels like home, and grow and learn a lot.”
To keep up with Coleman, check out her blog at fionamarie05.blogspot.com. The Honors Program wishes Coleman the best of luck in her remaining time in Zambia.