My Service in Numbers

Ua maea la’u auaunaga i Samoa.

I have completed my service in Samoa.


  • Swore 1 oath to serve
  • Spent 27 months in Samoa
  • and 805 days away from the United States
  • Absentee voted in 1 mid-term election
  • 2 Samoan host families (on opposite sides of the country)
  • 1 “adopted” family (hi Youssef’s!)
  • Visited 4 islands in the western archipelago
  • Visited 4 other countries in Oceania
  • Read 116 books
  • Spent 1,139 hours listening to Spotify
  • 100 Instagram posts
  • 250 students constantly saying “Fa Lina!” (bye Lena!)
  • Received 2 book donations from two organizations
  • Installed 2 school signs
  • 3 government shutdowns
  • Received 10 care packages
  • Started 3 after-school/extracurricular clubs
  • Participated in 5 In-Service Trainings
  • 3 bouts of head lice
  • 1 mosquito borne illness
  • 4 rat infestations
  • 3 months worth of bucket showers
  • 27 months worth of hand washing laundry
  • 2 witnessed “exorcisms”
  • 2 hair cuts
  • 10 inches of hair cut off after first year
  • Helped 2 other PCVs with ocean-related camps/conservation projects
  • Fasted during 2 Ramadans on my own
  • Offered 8 PDs to colleagues
  • Used 5 cans of Morteine
  • Used 10 cans of bug repellent (mostly post-Dengue lol)
  • Hosted 1 environment camp
  • Planted 11 trees
  • Learned 1 new musical instrument
  • Studied 1 new language
  • Assisted with organizing 1 student’s first passport + trip overseas
  • Had 1 meeting with the Minister of Agriculture
  • And countless number of laughs, memories, tears, friends, questions, answers, and ah-ha moments.

This place holds a dear and special place in my heart. I am so grateful for all the highs and lows of this journey. It has helped shape me in ways I can’t adequately put into words. Elhamdolilah

To my friends and family back home, as delighted as I am to come back, I’m nervous and anxious about readjusting to non-island life. As a friend and fellow Volunteer in my cohort shared, please ask me more meaningful questions about my experience — rather than the generic “how was Samoa?” This has been my whole world and life for the past 27 months and I don’t want to do it the injustice of limiting the narrative to answer a simple question.

I will never forget you, Samoa! E sili oe. Until next time…


My fellow colleagues for the past two years.
My village on Western Savai’i.

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