Matt Davis who wrote the wonderful Peace Corps memoir, When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale, and where he was a PCV from 2000-02, will be leaving shortly for Damascus. Matt graduated in May with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and has just gotten a Fulbright to spend 9 months in Syria. He plans on working on a novel and reporting on, and researching, a nonfiction project about the cultural scene in Syria’s capital.

Matt, as you may recall, was 23 when he left Chicago for the Peace Corps and a Mongolian town called Tsetserleg. Living in a ger, he had a tough go as a teacher, lived through a brutal winter, a rough romance, and then, as he writes, he fell into the trap many Mongolian men succumbing to: drinking constantly.

The longer he was in Mongolia, the deeper he fell into depression and ennui, until a violent encounter shook him into realizing his life had to change. His is a tough Peace Corps story, well told, and Matt comes out of the whole experience a better person, a wiser man.

And now he’s off to Syria.

But being from Chicago nothing it too tough, not even the ‘downtown’ scene in Damascus.

Keep in touch, Matt!