23 May 2010

Now What? And Where?

Seriously. What's this going to be like?

The part of the invitation kit that I was most eager to read was the job description. Just exactly what would I be signing up to spend two years doing? Acting as a Community Health Volunteer, sure, but what does that mean?

Fortunately, the Peace Corps included in the invitation kit a handy little booklet explaining just that. It's like they're in my head!

Says the booklet:
Volunteers in our Community Health and Economic Development Program work as staff members of a variety of host organizations in Uganda. Uganda's Ministry of Health, and local and international organizations request Volunteers to assist them with developing and implementing programs with the goals of improving overall levels of community health and economic development, preventing HIV/AIDS among adults and youth, caring for orphans and vulnerable children, and supporting people living with AIDS, their families, and their caregivers.
So that's it in the largest of nutshells. It goes on to list more specific activities and efforts I might be engaging in, but they're all firmly entrenched within the fight against HIV/AIDS. And they all sound exactly like what I was hoping for when I began to fill out my application almost a year ago.

Other fun facts from this booklet:

I'll likely be living in a rural community, and my housing will be what they call "modest" and will consist of two self-contained rooms along with areas to cook and bathe (both of which may be outside) and a private latrine (read: pit). There probably won't be running water or electricity, so I'll be using a kerosene lantern and stove. Housing does come with some furnishing though, and a settling-in allowance to supplement that.

Transportation will be by foot, bicycle, or local public transport. Public transport is "likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable," just like you would expect. I'll get money to buy a bicycle and will probably find that many of the communities I'll work with are a very demanding bicycle ride away from my house. No riding motorcycle-taxis, known as boda-bodas (laaame). And no driving a motor vehicle of any kind. No exceptions.

And, as is to be expected, there are many challenges I can expect to face. But, according to the booklet, "your ability to cope with these challenges, as well as those that come from daily life, will depend upon your flexibility, patience, humility, and good humor." Not to toot my own horn, but I mean, who's more humble, more patient, and funnier than this guy? (Beep-beep.)

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