Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Preparing to leave

Hey everyone, I leave in 5 days from the writing of this, so I thought I would just write about where I'm going first, and what I'll be doing, so lets just jump right in.

So I'm leaving for Malawi as a Peace Corps volunteer in the environmental sector. On March 3rd, I fly out of Portland and arrive in Philadelphia. On March 4th, we have an orientation that last most of the afternoon, then early (2am) we leave the hotel for JFK airport for our flight to Lilongwe which is the capital of Malawi. We spend the first few days on the outskirts of town to get acclimated, and then jump in to our pre-service training!

Training will be held in villages outside of the city of Kasungu. During the three month training period, I will be staying with a host family. Training is supposed to be intense and to be sworn in as volunteers we have to show competencies in six areas:
1.   A working knowledge of the local language
2.   Knowledge of health risks common in Malawi and demonstrated practice of preventive health strategies
3.   Interpersonal and cross-culture skills and knowledge that enable you to communicate, make friends, understand your environment, understand how Malawians perceive and interact with you, and work effectively with Malawians
4.   The technical skills and knowledge essential to perform your work
5.   An understanding of Peace Corps' development philosophy and your project's long-term strategy to see how your work fits into this strategy and what you can contribute

6. An understanding of the Core Expectations to serve effectively as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Some training will be with only fellow environmental volunteers, other training will be done with the health volunteers as well. However training doesn't really end at the end of the day because we return to our separate host families where we practice more language general home stay training. Towards the end of training we are assigned our placement sites. This is done by the staff, and is based on our strengths exhibited during training. During training there will be very limited internet access, so don't expect much contact from me for the first few months. If you want to write, my address during training is:
Justin Krohn, PCT
Peace Corps/Malawi
Box 208
I'll do my best to write back, promise!

After training, I really don't know what's going to happen. I'll go off to my site, and go from there. I'm an environmental volunteer, focusing on community based natural resource management, whatever that means. What I actually do will end up depending on what my community wants done. I guess a lot of volunteers end up starting nurseries due to the high demand of wood for firewood and lumber. Based on my experience beekeeping is a likely thing I'll bring up because it's a good income generating activity. Some volunteers raise livestock, the possibilities are really endless. Every volunteer also has some secondary projects as well such as teaching classes, after school clubs, HIV/AIDS awareness etc. 

I'm definitely looking forward to this. I've packed up all my belongings and shoved them into my closet, excluding what I'm going to be taking with me, I've got all my financial things settled, I'm now just set to go! Next post won't be for a while probably (May/June). 
Love you all!

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