Are you on Instagram?
If you’re not, you’re going to want to create an account. (But you don’t have to mom. You can also just look at the pictures with the link I sent you. 🙂 )
It will surprise none of my former coworkers at the newspaper that I’ve found a way to use social media as an official part of my service. In fact, some may be surprised that it took this long.
I am part of an awesome team of ladies who are running the brand new Peace Corps Macedonia Instagram page. (Follow us at our super original handle: @PeaceCorpsMacedonia.)
All Peace Corps Volunteers are given a primary assignment. In Macedonia, volunteers are either TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) or CD (community development). We also take on secondary projects. These are primarily self-identified and fill some sort of community need, like an after school club.
The Instagram page is the platform for my first secondary project: 365 days of Peace Corps Macedonia. My fellow PCVs and I are posting pictures for 365 days, sharing our homes, families, work, adventures, food, and of course, all the animals Macedonia has to offer. (We already have one cat picture posted. Julie the street cat may even make an appearance before the year is over.)
“I just want to be internet famous.” -Julie
Technically, none of our communities needed an Instagram page, but it’s a really cool way to see what volunteers are doing all over the country. (And promote Peace Corp’s third goal.) I chose the photos and organized the captions for the first week. The cow photo is my favorite for the week, but my friend Mike holding a cat has the most likes. (Cat people. I just don’t get it.)
You can see the first week of photos here, but you can also check them out at http://instagram.com/peacecorpsmacedonia.
As with the blog, let me know if there is anything you’re dying to see on our Instagram page. (And seriously, go make an account and follow us.)
These teenagers are the faces of Macedonia’s future. Some are ethnically #Macedonian. Others are #Albanian, #Turkish, or #Roma and they all call Macedonia home.
Each year a new group of Peace Corps Volunteers join them. For 365 days, we’ll share a look at all the people, places, food, and experiences that make Macedonia home for our Volunteers.
#Day1 photog: PCV David Strouse
A week after arrival in #Macedonia, Volunteers move in with host families in training communities around the country. After only a few days of language training, communication involves a lot of charades, pointing, and smiling. Abby Nelson agrees with the message on her host dad’s shirt: “a smile cures.” (The incredible cheese and meat pastry he’s making — pastramilija — helps too.)
#Day2 photog: PCV Abby Nelson
Everyone can “oro.” The traditional dance typically winds in a circle as dancers step left and right in unison. Even #Santa, or Grandfather Ice, as he’s known in Macedonia, gets involved. Here, he’s dancing with children and volunteers from the Bitola Zoo, where Ted Shibata is a Volunteer.
#Day3 photog: PCV Ted Shibata
A few PCVs started the new year exploring with an 8 km hike from #Prilep to the #Treskavec #Monastery. The group met a family along the way, all of whom were members of the Prilep Mountaineering Club. (Mike Murphy also met this kitty, who was not a member of the club.) Darin Savage said they enjoyed having local guides, especially in areas where snowfall made the trail tricky.
#Day4 photog: Darin Savage
The red rooftops of #Kratavo have been covered in snow a few times already this #зима, or winter. Christina DeCorse lived here during training and took this picture when she visited her host family in December.
#Day5 photog: PCV Christina DeCorse
“You know you’re part of the family when they let you name the new calf,” joked Kait Bowdler. Her goddaughter Sunny lives in #Dobroshte with the host family she lived with during training. Whether Volunteers work as teachers or in community development, they all work to connect with their families, communities, and the occasional cow.
#Day6 photog: PCV Kait Bowdler
In #Zrnovci, Thomas prefers to use a traditional wooden pitchfork, rather than the modern metal one. He’s 78, but he still takes care of his half acre of alfalfa. He’s holding string, which he used to tie the bundles of hay in the background. Gary Sack spent the day observing and even trying his hand at steering the mule and horse drawn plow.
#Day7 photog: PCV Gary Sack