Corps Conversations Ep. 15: Sara LeHoullier | Madagascar
I had a great time talking with Sara in early October. We really hit it off, and I enjoyed listening to her stories about Madagascar. I could tell that she truly loved the time that she spent there, and that the country had become a part of her. It was inspiring to hear about the ways that she's managed to stay connected to Madagascar. Often times, we RPCVs tend to let that connection fade, and as the years pass, it becomes just a memory to file away in our catalog of experiences. I'm glad that there are people like Sara out there, who continue to nurture and expand their connections to their country of service.
Sara LeHoullier grew up in North Carolina, and after high school, she made the bizarre but excellent decision to go to Minnesota for college. Armed with a BA in English from Carleton, she returned to North Carolina in 2003, and made it only two years in the corporate world before joining the Peace Corps in 2005.
From 2005 until 2007, Sara taught English in Madagascar. In 2008, she went back to perform a needs assessment for her proposed NGO, Spotlight Madagascar. Alas, the political crisis put a halt to her dreams of starting her own organization, and she returned to school to get her MA in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute. Thesis research afforded her yet another opportunity to visit Madagascar, and in 2009 she went back for three months, during which she searched far and wide for innovation in development, and wrote her first travel companion.
In 2010, Sara decided to return once again as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer and lived in Ambositra, Madagascar for 6 months, working on ICT education and Micro-enterprise development with Human Network International. A short break and she was back on the plane again to research her next book in the spectacular deep south; this next travel guide, that will be published in 2012 just in time for high tourist season!
Sara spent two years with RTI International, first as a Project Administration Specialist, then as a Program Development Coordinator for the Education Policy and Systems group. She has written articles about Madagascar in Worldview Magazine and Remedy Quarterly, and continues to be involved in several initiatives on the big red island, including a silk-weaving cooperative called Federation SAHALANDY and a burgeoning new NGO, Nofy i Androy, that establishes educational opportunities for girls and women in the south of Madagascar. She is currently a Business Optimization Consultant for a small firm in Seattle, Washington, working on some very exciting initiatives that are aimed increasing human happiness and promoting environmental sustainability across the globe.