Next stop in Hannah Lippe's journey: Zambia

Brookfield East graduate has joined the Peace Corps

March 13, 2012

Hannah Lippe is piling up the frequent flier miles.

From the southwest United States to the South Pacific and southern Africa, the 23-year-old from Elm Grove is no stranger to an unfamiliar environment.

Her adventures began while she was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2010 she spent time in New Mexico completing ethnographic research on a reservation. She talked to elders, saw how they felt about the Catholic mission in the village and learned how that mission molded their own traditions as they grew up.

Lippe was out the door again just one day after arriving home. In her sights: New Zealand.

There, she worked on an organic avocado farm, a vegan vineyard and a start-up farm that focused on sustainability.

Peace Corps beckons

And now she's in Zambia, volunteering with the Peace Corps.

She left in February for training as a forestry extension agent. When training ends in May, Lippe will help communities with projects that aim to conserve natural resources while promoting income generation, food production and sustainable environmental practices.

For Lippe, a 2006 Brookfield East High School graduate, being in the Peace Corps has been a long-held dream.

"She wanted to do something that would benefit herself and others, so we weren't surprised when she told us," her mom, Peggy, said. "When you have kids, you want them to grow up and contribute to society and be happy - so what better way than this?"

Lippe is living with a host family for a couple months before being assigned to a community in Zambia where she will work for the next two years.

Worth the sacrifice

Being in Africa for 27 months means making sacrifices.

"I will miss my loved ones back home the most," Lippe said before adding, "also hot baths and folk music."

Nevertheless, she wasn't about to turn down the adventure of a lifetime.

"My experiences from New Zealand and New Mexico did make it easier, but the fact that I am loved and supported so much at home makes it the easiest," she said. "I needed a challenge for myself that would help me really understand who I am."

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