You should know, I'm a real sucker for the romance of journalism. Its very successes as a public service and ability to empower and educate readers by uncovering truths is what got me hooked as a college student working for my school newspaper. You could blame my naivete for still seeing journalism in its glory (a newspaper reporter has actually been ranked as the worst job ever), but for some reason I don't foresee my enthusiasm fading. I can resist the cynicism.
My favorite stories I wrote while working for The Record, New Jersey's second largest daily newspaper, were the ones that I was able to illuminate a slice of life that was unknown to others.
It was when after a same-sex couple saw Steven and Jose Lassalle and their newly adopted daughter, Jolie's faces on the front page, they realized their dream of adopting a child through the state's welfare system as gay men could become a reality. It was when a reader emailed me to inquire about adopting Boris, an orphan from Russia visiting the States for surgery, who's smile brightened a whole town. And when Arlene Romoff, who lost her hearing in her twenties, told me that my story captured what most people don't know about cochlear implants. Storytelling has the ability to seamlessly connect people.
While in the Peace Corps I will experience life through a new lens as I work to build trust with the Malagasy people and integrate into the community and culture. I will try new foods, learn a new language, explore new lands and meet new people. As I travel 8,678 miles from home, I will be throwing myself into a environment that couldn't be more unlike New Jersey. That's the whole point.
While I leave my comfort zone and find new opportunities to tell stories, I hope my tales of this crazy adventure can illuminate life on the world's fourth largest island, making Malagasy culture more familiar and less distant for those so far away. Something tells me that Madagascar has a lot of stories to be told and I'm ready to tell them.