Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a growing number of people who have taken their Trek Light Hammock along with them during their time in the Peace Corps. It’s never been something we’ve directly marketed for in any way, but through word of mouth many have come to us to get what ends up being one of their most treasured items during their time abroad.
Back in December of 2011 I received an email from Peace Corps volunteer Joe Cooper. Joe told me that he was working in Cameroon (West Central Africa) and not only did he badly need a hammock, he also had about 15 other people in his volunteer group who were all wishing they had brought a hammock along. Since Trek Light Gear doesn’t have a retail outlet in Cameroon (yet?), Joe organized a group order amongst his fellow volunteers and we shipped a big ol’ TLG care package to Cameroon.
Even though we’ve shipped to 30+ countries around the world, this was the first time we’ve shipped a big order to a developing country like Cameroon. As the estimated 6-10 day delivery time turned into 3 and then 4 weeks, I was extremely relieved when I received the email from Joe saying the hammocks had arrived safely.
Here’s the picture Joe sent the day they arrived:
Since many of the volunteers that had ordered hammocks were working in different areas around Cameroon, Joe went out of his way to make sure that everyone’s hammock got to them wherever they were.
A few weeks passed and I was just thinking about checking in to see how the hammocks were working out when I got the following email from Joe:
“This past weekend we all met up for our in-service three month training and then headed to the coast for a little vacation. As luck would have it there was this incredible mango tree next to our hotel on the beach and thanks to you we had no fewer than five hammocks among us! In addition to a few of us sleeping on the beach every night we managed to string up a triple decker in this wishbone shaped mango tree!”
Here are some of the amazing photos that Joe sent of Trek Light Gear in Kribi, Cameroon:
What I love most about the pictures is that it perfectly sums up what a Trek Light Hammock represents on a trip like a Peace Corps mission. The hammocks offer crucial shelter and a place to sleep while working tirelessly, but when the work is done they’re able to transform from a simple bed into something much more. The feeling you get in a hammock is a powerful thing - it helps to center you, remind you why you’re on the path you’re on, relieves your stress and even offers you an escape from all that surrounds you if that’s what you need. A hammock can put smiles on people’s faces, bridge language barriers and cultural differences, and help form bonds and friendships that last a lifetime. When’s the last time you felt that way about your tent or any other gear in your travel pack?
Many thanks to Joe and all the Trek Light Hammockin’ Peace Corps Members. I can’t wait to get another email with pictures and stories of how the hammocks have helped on their mission in Cameroon. The pictures Joe was able to send were small files but we’ll put them into a full Flickr galley as soon as we get the high resolution copies.
If you’re reading this because you’re a Peace Corps volunteer or know someone who is or about to be, please get in touch with us so we can help you out on your life-changing adventure. We can work with you to organize a group purchase and give you a tremendous deal on our gear to help get you and your fellow volunteers off the ground.
A huge Trek Light Gear salute to all of you who donate your time, blood, sweat and tears to help others around the world. Hammock on.