I had told my friends in Salt Lake City they would see me next when I won Blog it Home and earned a prize of a inclusive trip to Washington, D.C., for a week of sessions on culture and blogging.
I did end up winning this contest, albeit it was offered in a very different fashion and did not include a trip to the motherland.
Blog it Home is a Peace Corps sponsored contest that supports Goal 3, which is all about Peace Corps Volunteers sharing the culture and community they lived with, with Americans. A perfect example of this is a blog. Anyone with a blog could submit and Peace Corps would choose about 20 blogs. From there, online voting would occur to choose the seven or eight winners.
Another PCV here in eSwatini and I really wanted to compete in this contest. We had been talking about it for months, and when June arrived and there was no contest announcement, we were concerned. There had been a lot of cuts to Peace Corps programs thanks to Trump, and we feared this was one of them.
The large-scale Blog it Home contest was canceled. In October, Peace Corps HQ announced that country directors could choose to hold their own local contests and choose their own prizes. Fortunately our CD did choose to hold a contest for Swaziland PCVs. We learned that others did not when Kirby and I started asking around for the prizes being offered in other countries. (Sorry, April! I would have loved to meet you in D.C. if things hadn’t changed this year!)
Long story short, I won Swaziland’s 2017 Blog it Home contest. I won lunch with the ambassador, which I had in March, and two additional vacation days, and the certificate finally arrived a few weeks ago. Staff was able to coordinate a presentation of the certificate at our Close of Service conference. All in all, it was very nice. Apparently my prize also included a night out at a hostel, but this wasn’t made clear to me. Instead, I received a door-to-door ride in a Peace Corps car from the office to my homestead. This was an even better prize than a night out with a shower.
Maybe this year the international contest will occur and I will get to try my luck once again.