Monday, November 06, 2006

Reassuring Ideas

Hey guys!
Thank you once again for all the support, I'm gonna miss everyone so much. Today I had my first day of staging--I finally became a peacecorps trainee! I will not lie, I was scared out of my mind until I walked in, but the process was pretty reassuring. The Namibian ambassador introduced us to our staging! Very exciting... he was eloquent and pretty honest about the situation in Namibia. He also gave us some more details on Namibia, which I am sure many of you have been waiting for also! All in all the staging is not bad... people seem all right, they gave us monayyy to feed ourselves well, and they are sort of answering our questions about Namibia. I kind of started dozing off after the 4th or so ice breaker/morale prepping activity, but i'll chalk it up to a lack of sleep from the weekend. Its a little weird b/c they are assuming that we did not read any of the info they gave us. Maybe that is a good thing b/c it was a lot of stuff, and I am sure that I ended up glossing over some of it. For example, they introduced their safety plan, which is a five point action plan called VSSS (Volunteer Safety Support System), which was in the initial workbook. For the benefit of those of you worried for my life, the five points are
  • Information Sharing- providing accurate information about Volunteer service to interested individuals
  • Volunteer Training- equips volunteers with cultural, language, and health and safety issues
  • Site Assessment- the Peace corps strictly regulates where Volunteers will live and work to make sure they are safe and secure
  • Emergency and Communications Planning - Maintains contact with the peace corps office, also requires all volunteers to learn an EAP or emergency action plan to ensure that volunteers can be contacted in case of emergency.
  • Incident Reporting and Response- volunteers are encouraged to report safety and security violations and the peace corps responds swiftly

Yayy! Safety. Girls, send it to those boyfriends who think i am a goner. I may still be, but probably b/c I'll trip and fall or something.

What was really fantastic about the staging is their approach to development:

"any process that promotes the dignity of a people and their
capacity to improve their own lives."

Best definition ever. I love it, even though it contradicts what development means to a lot of other people. I am definitely seduced by the idealism of it all... Something that became clear to me is that peace corps volunteers are very rarely people who are just excited about a cause. Instead, they are people who not only want to help, but who also want to understand how best to help. There's a huge difference in my mind, I only hope I can live up to it. Now I sound like one of those cheesy people, but all the goodbyes have been affecting me I guess. Anyways, I'll complete the wheel with a quote that sums up how I feel (most) of the time:

"Our Peace Corps is not designed as an instrument of diplomacy or propaganda or ideological conflict. It is designed to permit our people to exercise more fully their responsibility in the great common cause of world development."

John F. Kennedy
March 1, 1961

pS. During pre-service training, I will use the Peace Corps office address:

“Ami Shah,” PCT
Peace Corps
PO Box 6862
Windhoek, Namibia

The postal system is reliable, but service to the more remote villages is often slow. Mail from the United States to Windhoek, the capital, can take up to two weeks. From there, it could take two more weeks for mail to reach my village.

My mail will be forwarded periodically to my training site. Once I move to my permanent site, I will use the school’s address or get a private post office box.


Hazel said...

Hi, Ami! I can't believe we didn't get to talk before you left! Well, I hope you are safe, and doing well out there. Keep posting, I know I'll be checking on you periodically. Oh and you can email too (I think you know my addy). xoxo. Your Lumps, aka. Hazel

Amar said...

word up homez. hope everything's well.


Naveen said...

hey ami! did you get my emails and text msg? it said it sent but who knows...can you teach me to say something in oshivambo?