Difference between pages "Malawi" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco"

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{{CountryboxAlternative
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{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
|Countryname= Malawi
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|CountryCode = mi
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|status= [[ACTIVE]]
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|Flag= Flag_of_Malawi.svg
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|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/mwwb614.pdf
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|Region= [[Africa]]
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|CountryDirector= [[Kevin]]
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|Sectors= [[Health and HIV/AIDS]]<br> ([[APCD]]: [[Cornelius Msanyama]])<br> [[Environment]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Lu Munthali]])<br> [[Education]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Dora Mwalwenje]])
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|ProgramDates= [[1963]] - [[1969]]<br>[[1973]] - [[1976]]<br>[[1978]] - [[Present]]
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|CurrentlyServing= 128
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|TotalVolunteers= 2263
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|Languages= English, Chichewa, Chitonga, Chitumbuka
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|Map= Mi-map.gif
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|stagingdate= March 5, 2011
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|stagingcity= Philadelphia
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}}
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The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Malawi just before its independence in 1963. Since then, nearly 2000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served here, with the majority working in the education and health sectors.
 
  
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==Communications ==
  
==Peace Corps History==
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During pre-service training, you will receive mail at the Peace Corps/Morocco office, which will forward mail to the training site at least once a week. Please do not have packages sent to you during training. After you are assigned to your permanent site, you will receive mail at a local post office or at your workplace. Packages should be sent directly to your site after training. Depending on the distance to your site from Rabat, mail may take anywhere from three days to three weeks to get to you.
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Malawi]]''
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Your mailing address during training will be:  
  
The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Malawi just prior to independence in 1963. Most Volunteers worked on education and health projects, and numbers quickly grew to more than 350 Volunteers. In total, more than 2,300 Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Malawi. Under the very conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the “non-conformist” role of some Volunteers, but the program was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the government of Malawi.
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"Your Name", Trainee <br>
 +
s/c Corps de la Paix <br>
 +
2, rue Abou Marouane Essaadi <br>
 +
Agdal, Rabat 10100, MOROCCO <br>
  
The change of government in 1994 opened up the possibility of re-placing Volunteers in rural villages (under the prior regime, foreigners had been suspended from living at the village level). With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working with counterpart ministries to focus programming efforts and identify more appropriate areas for collaboration at the community level. Currently, there are approximately 150 Volunteers working in the health, education, and environment sectors.
 
  
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It normally takes 10 to 12 days for an airmail letter to arrive from the United States. Surface mail takes from one to four months. Mail that goes through the Moroccan post office is subject to customs inspection, censorship, and currency control. Advise your friends and relatives that mail delivery is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly. Also, they should never send cash through the mail, as it will seldom reach you. Please check the U.S. Post Service website at www.usps.com for the latest updates on how best to send your letter or package.  Currently, the USPS recommends air Parcel Post (not surface mail) for packages, or airmail for letters.
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles==
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Although having packages sent from home is not recommended because of the unreliability of mail service and the customs fees, if you do have packages sent, brown padded envelopes work well. Make sure they have the green customs label and are marked as gifts, which should prevent the imposition of fees. It is best to wait to have packages sent until you know your permanent address. Again, please do not have your family send you packages during pre-service training.
  
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Malawi]]''
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==Telephones ==
  
Volunteers in Malawi are posted from the far north in Chitipa to the far south in Nsanje. Volunteers are almost exclusively posted to rural areas—at health centers, community secondary schools, or in communities surrounding forest or game reserves. Site placement is made during the training period after the staff has had an opportunity to evaluate individual capabilities and strengths. Site placements are determined primarily by work-related needs.
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Telephone and telegraph services are available in all parts of the country. Volunteers in larger cities may have a telephone in their home. Many Volunteers purchase inexpensive cellphones in Morocco, an expense that is not covered by the Peace Corps. Public telephones (called teleboutiques) suitable for making direct-dial international calls exist in most towns. Collect calls can be made only at a post and telecommunications office, and you should anticipate a wait. AT&T and MCI calling cards work in Morocco.  
  
Housing can vary from mud houses with either thatch or tin roofs to fired-brick houses with tin roofs. Most likely, a Volunteer’s house will be comparable to their co-worker’s dwelling. Housing will include basics such as a bed, table, and chairs, but possibly not much more. Each Volunteer will receive an allowance to purchase needed settling-in items. Housing is organized and provided by the hosting site, either by the school, health center, or community. Volunteers do not generally live with families during their two years of service following training, though this is a possibility.
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The Peace Corps office in Morocco can be reached by direct dialing from the United States. During normal working hours, the office number (from most states) is 011.212.3.768-3780, and a duty officer monitors calls for emergencies after office hours. Volunteers are not permitted to use telephones at the Peace Corps/Morocco office to call family or friends unless the call pertains to an emergency and is approved in advance by the country director.  
  
Volunteers might be located anywhere from a half hour to three days from the capital city. Closeness to another Volunteer varies from site to site. Your nearest Volunteer neighbor may be a VSO (British) or JICA (Japanese) Volunteer.
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==Computer, E-mail, and Internet Access ==
  
Most Volunteers do not have electricity or running water. Water will likely come from a well, and your evenings will be spent reading by lantern and candlelight. Your flexibility and adaptability will be important as you adjust to these new conditions.
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Volunteers, typically, are able to access e-mail and the Internet at cybercafes. Cybercafes are affordable, generally reliable and can be found in increasing numbers in just about any town or city. Most Volunteers do not have a cyber café at their site, but most are within a few hours’ travel from one. The Volunteer lounge at the Peace Corps office in Rabat is equipped with two computers, both with Internet access, and a printer reserved for Volunteer use. Volunteers are not allowed to use staff computers.  
  
During the training period, trainees stay with a host family and share most meals with their host family. Homestay is considered one of the most important aspects of the training program and is required for this period. Generally, trainees will be placed in a village with three to four other trainees and one to two staff members.  
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Some Volunteers bring their laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance.  
  
 +
==Housing and Site Location ==
  
==Training==
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You will be assigned to your permanent site towards the end of pre-service training. After your site announcement, you will visit your assigned site to meet your counterparts and other members of your community. Once you move to the site, you will spend your first two months living with a host family that has been chosen by the Peace Corps. This family has prepared for your arrival and will provide you with a safe and secure place to live while you continue to learn the language and adapt to the culture. An additional objective of this period is to help you integrate more effectively into the community.
  
''Main article: [[Training in Malawi]]''
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After the mandatory two-month stay with a Moroccan family, you are free to change your housing, in accordance with the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria (see the chapter on Health Care and Safety). The Peace Corps will give you a modest settling-in allowance to purchase household necessities such as a stove, dishes, and furniture. Peace Corps will provide additional items, such as a carbon monoxide detector and water filter, if necessary. Volunteers in areas that experience unbearably cold winters can be reimbursed for the purchase of an appropriate heater. Depending on the site, Volunteer housing generally consists of two or more rooms and private bath and latrine facilities. Some Volunteers live in family compounds with one or two private rooms for their use.
  
Pre-service training will provide you with the essential skills needed to successfully carry out your service in Malawi. The skills focus on integrating into your community and developing and implementing an appropriate work plan with your community and counterparts. Training includes five major components: technical training, cross-cultural training, language instruction, personal health and safety training, and the role of the Volunteer in development.
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While many Volunteers in Morocco have running water and electricity, you may not have these amenities and may collect your water from an outside faucet or well and spend your evenings reading by candle or lantern. You need to be very flexible in your housing expectations, as there are no guarantees of continuous electricity or water.  
  
Pre-service training in Malawi is conducted as a community-based training, meaning that the bulk of the training takes place in the community as opposed to in a training center. Community-based training is a more difficult training model in some respects, as the learning environment is real, not artificial. During community-based training, most of your time will be spent in villages and communities similar to where you will be placed as a Volunteer. Your instructors create a learning environment with experiences and meetings designed to allow you to develop the knowledge and skills needed for your work as a Volunteer. Throughout your training, you will live with a Malawian family and work in villages and schools.  
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Depending on your program and assignment, you may be placed in a community that ranges from a large, semi-urban town to a very small rural village. Some Volunteers share a site, while others are quite a distance from other Volunteers. Peace Corps staff members visit all sites to ensure that they meet the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria. Staff also visit all Volunteers intermittently to provide personal, medical, and professional support.  
  
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==Living Allowance and Money Management ==
  
==Your Health Care and Safety==
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As a Volunteer in Morocco, you will receive four types of allowances. The first is a one-time settling-in allowance, currently five thousand Moroccan dirhams (MAD 5000), that is used to buy basic household items when you move to your site. This amount is reviewed once a year through a “settling-in survey” to ensure that the allowance is sufficient. You will receive a monthly living allowance, currently MAD 2000, to cover your basic expenses, i.e., food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, communications costs (e.g., cell phone cards, internet access), transportation, reading material, and other incidentals. Your monthly rent will be covered separately by the Peace Corps. The living allowance is paid in local currency and is sent to Volunteers during the third week of each month for the following month. The living allowance is reviewed once a year through a market survey to ensure that it is adequate.  You may find that you receive more remuneration than your counterpart or supervisor.
  
''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Malawi]]''
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You will also receive a vacation allowance of $24 (currently MAD 220) per month and a travel allowance to cover the cost of work-related trips (pre-approved work-related leave, official Peace Corps events, etc.). The current travel allowance policy is under review.
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Malawi maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Malawi at local, U.S.-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported to either a facility in the region that meets U.S. standards or to the United States.
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Most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Morocco with these allowances. Volunteers are strongly discouraged from supplementing their income with money brought from home, as they are expected to live at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues. Nevertheless, credit cards are handy for vacations and travel and can be used in several establishments in the larger cities. Traveler’s checks can be cashed for a small percentage fee. ATMs can be found at most major banks in large cities.
  
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==Food and Diet ==
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
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A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available year-round, and all meats except pork are readily available. Dairy products like yogurt and milk can usually be obtained.  Although maintaining a vegetarian diet should not be difficult, you will be confronted with cultural issues when visiting Moroccan families, as they will offer you, and expect you to accept, traditional foods. Thus vegetarians need to be flexible about sharing the Moroccan diet when visiting friends and neighbors.
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Malawi]]''
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Fresh bread is widely available and is an important part of the Moroccan diet. Pastries are available in larger towns, and pasta is available in almost any small shop.
  
In Malawi, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
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Mint tea is a Moroccan's favorite drink. It is traditionally very sweet and is served throughout the day. The numerous cafes in Morocco, which are mostly frequented by men, also serve coffee and fresh orange juice. Because Morocco is a Muslim country, beer and wine are not usually available in rural areas.
  
Outside of Malawi’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Malawi are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another.
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==Transportation ==
  
* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
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Most Volunteers travel within the country in commercial buses or long-distance taxis (grand taxi). Local taxis (petit taxis) are available in all medium and large cities. If required for their work, Volunteers are issued bicycles with bicycle helmets. To reduce safety risks, Peace Corps/Morocco prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Nor are Volunteers allowed to own or drive private cars. Violation of these policies may result in termination of your Volunteer service.
* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
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* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
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* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
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==Geography and Climate ==
  
==Frequently Asked questions==
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Morocco is sometimes referred to as the cold country with the hot sun. The sun shines most of the year, but the cold can penetrate straight to your bones. The country has a varied geography, with beaches, mountains, desert, and agricultural land. The north tends to receive more rain than the south, so the majority of agriculture occurs in the north.
  
{{Volunteersurvey2008
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Moving southward, the landscape changes to desert, turning into the Sahara in the deep southeast. Morocco boasts a popular ski resort in the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakech, and on either side of the mountains are flat, hot, and dry plains. Summer is hot all over Morocco, with coastal areas experiencing greater relative humidity than inland areas.  
|H1r=  15
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|H1s=  76.8
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|H2r=  30
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|H2s=  84.7
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|H3r=  10
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|H3s=  88.8
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|H4r=  5
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|H4s=  115.5
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|H5r=  21
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|H5s=  56.5
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|H6r=  14
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|H6s=  95.3
+
}}
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''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Malawi]]''
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==Social Activities ==
  
* How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Malawi?
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Morocco is more tolerant than many other Muslim nations toward Western cultural norms. But while people in large cities tend to dress in Western clothing, those in rural communities are still very traditional. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural settings and need to conform to local customs. Men have more external freedom than women do in that they can circulate freely outside the home. Cultural norms do not allow men and women to mix freely outside the home, and women tend to spend more time in the home, taking care of domestic affairs and socializing with other women. Moroccans are known for their hospitality, and you should expect invitations to dinner, weddings, and other social functions.
* What is the electric current in Malawi?
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* How much money should I bring?
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* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
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* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
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* Do I need an international driver’s license?
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* What should I bring as gifts for Malawian friends and my host family?
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* Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
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* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
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* Can I call home from Malawi?
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* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
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* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
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==Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ==
  
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The people of Morocco take pride in their personal appearance. To gain their acceptance, respect, and confidence, it is essential that you dress and conduct yourself professionally. Dress standards for Volunteers are generally conservative. Women may wear pants with long-sleeved shirts for normal work-related activity, but are expected to wear long, casual skirts or dresses for more professional activities (e.g., meetings and/or workshops with Ministry representatives). Men are expected to wear long trousers for most activities.
  
==Packing List==
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Adhering to the conservative dress codes in Morocco is a test of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, you should consider the amount of sacrifice and flexibility required to be successful and reevaluate your decision to become a Volunteer.
  
''Main article: [[Packing List for Malawi]]''
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The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a way that will foster respect within their communities and reflect well on the Peace Corps and on the United States. You will receive an orientation to appropriate behavior and cultural sensitivity during pre-service training. As a Volunteer, you have the status of an invited guest, and thus you need to be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Malawi and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can always have things sent to you later. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Malawi.
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Certain behaviors can jeopardize the Peace Corps’ mission in Morocco as well as your personal safety and thus cannot be tolerated by the Peace Corps. Engaging in these behaviors may lead to administrative separation, a decision by the Peace Corps to terminate your service. The Volunteer Handbook provides more information on the grounds for administrative separation.  
  
The three key qualities for clothing in Malawi are dark colors, many pockets, and easy to wash and care for. Overall, dress conservatively. Remember that it does get cold so bring warm clothes. Rainy season means just that—you will get wet and splattered with mud. We recommend quick-drying, breathable clothes.
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==Personal Safety ==
  
* General Clothing
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More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (often alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as wealthy are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help Volunteers reduce their risks and enhance their safety and security. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
* Shoes
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* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
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* Kitchen
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* Miscellaneous
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Suggested Additions:
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==Rewards and Frustrations ==
* Quality, Large Backpackers' Pack
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* Bicycle Saddlebags
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* Solar Shower
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* International Travel Stove (ie MSR Whisperlite International)
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* Notebook External Hard Drive
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==Peace Corps News==
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Although the potential for job satisfaction is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations.  Because of financial or other challenges, collaborating agencies do not always provide the support promised.  Moreover, the pace of work and life is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to, and some people you work with may be hesitant to change practices and traditions that are centuries old. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.
  
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
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You will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. Often you will find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. Positive progress most often comes only after the combined efforts of several Volunteers over the course of many years. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
  
''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22malawi%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
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To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. The Peace Corps staff, your co-workers, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success. Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Morocco feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.  
  
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/mi/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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[[Category:Morocco]]
 
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==Country Fund==
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The Country Fund will support many varied Volunteer projects in Malawi. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Apart from poverty, Malawi is also heavily hit by HIV/AIDS. Typical projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, Income Generation Activities, youth and HIV/AIDS related programs. Many such projects fail to materialise or be implemented better due to lack of resources or the time/effort it takes to get them. You can make a big difference for both the work of the volunteers and people of Malawi by contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=614-CFD Malawi Country Fund], which is designed for faster response to the Volunteers and their communities. An example of country fund use was funding a local mini-camp for a Volunteer's community, using resources and people that were trained at one of the national camps, like Camp GLOW or Camp Sky. These can happen frequently as $300 - $800 is above easy Volunteer fund raising, but it goes a long way in developing motivation/skills of a local group of 30 young women or youth.
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==See also==
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* [[Volunteers who served in Malawi]]
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* [[Friends of Malawi]]
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* [[List of resources for Malawi]]
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* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
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* [[Inspector General Reports]]
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==External links==
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* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/mi.html Peace Corps Journals - Malawi]
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[[Category:Malawi]] [[Category:Africa]]
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[[Category:Country]]
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Revision as of 12:19, 16 December 2011



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in [[{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
As a Peace Corps Volunteers, you will have to adapt to conditions that may be dramatically different than you have ever experienced and modify lifestyle practices that you now take for granted. Even the most basic practices— talking, eating, using the bathroom, and sleeping — may take significantly different forms in the context of the host country. If you successfully adapt and integrate, you will in return be rewarded with a deep understanding of a new culture, the establishment of new and potentially lifelong relationships, and a profound sense of humanity.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]
See also:

Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles by Country Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}}{{#if:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}}|_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}}|}}{{#if:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}|_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}|}}.svg|100px|none]]
[[Category:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco| |8}}]]


Communications

During pre-service training, you will receive mail at the Peace Corps/Morocco office, which will forward mail to the training site at least once a week. Please do not have packages sent to you during training. After you are assigned to your permanent site, you will receive mail at a local post office or at your workplace. Packages should be sent directly to your site after training. Depending on the distance to your site from Rabat, mail may take anywhere from three days to three weeks to get to you.

Your mailing address during training will be:

"Your Name", Trainee
s/c Corps de la Paix
2, rue Abou Marouane Essaadi
Agdal, Rabat 10100, MOROCCO


It normally takes 10 to 12 days for an airmail letter to arrive from the United States. Surface mail takes from one to four months. Mail that goes through the Moroccan post office is subject to customs inspection, censorship, and currency control. Advise your friends and relatives that mail delivery is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly. Also, they should never send cash through the mail, as it will seldom reach you. Please check the U.S. Post Service website at www.usps.com for the latest updates on how best to send your letter or package. Currently, the USPS recommends air Parcel Post (not surface mail) for packages, or airmail for letters.

Although having packages sent from home is not recommended because of the unreliability of mail service and the customs fees, if you do have packages sent, brown padded envelopes work well. Make sure they have the green customs label and are marked as gifts, which should prevent the imposition of fees. It is best to wait to have packages sent until you know your permanent address. Again, please do not have your family send you packages during pre-service training.

Telephones

Telephone and telegraph services are available in all parts of the country. Volunteers in larger cities may have a telephone in their home. Many Volunteers purchase inexpensive cellphones in Morocco, an expense that is not covered by the Peace Corps. Public telephones (called teleboutiques) suitable for making direct-dial international calls exist in most towns. Collect calls can be made only at a post and telecommunications office, and you should anticipate a wait. AT&T and MCI calling cards work in Morocco.

The Peace Corps office in Morocco can be reached by direct dialing from the United States. During normal working hours, the office number (from most states) is 011.212.3.768-3780, and a duty officer monitors calls for emergencies after office hours. Volunteers are not permitted to use telephones at the Peace Corps/Morocco office to call family or friends unless the call pertains to an emergency and is approved in advance by the country director.

Computer, E-mail, and Internet Access

Volunteers, typically, are able to access e-mail and the Internet at cybercafes. Cybercafes are affordable, generally reliable and can be found in increasing numbers in just about any town or city. Most Volunteers do not have a cyber café at their site, but most are within a few hours’ travel from one. The Volunteer lounge at the Peace Corps office in Rabat is equipped with two computers, both with Internet access, and a printer reserved for Volunteer use. Volunteers are not allowed to use staff computers.

Some Volunteers bring their laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance.

Housing and Site Location

You will be assigned to your permanent site towards the end of pre-service training. After your site announcement, you will visit your assigned site to meet your counterparts and other members of your community. Once you move to the site, you will spend your first two months living with a host family that has been chosen by the Peace Corps. This family has prepared for your arrival and will provide you with a safe and secure place to live while you continue to learn the language and adapt to the culture. An additional objective of this period is to help you integrate more effectively into the community.

After the mandatory two-month stay with a Moroccan family, you are free to change your housing, in accordance with the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria (see the chapter on Health Care and Safety). The Peace Corps will give you a modest settling-in allowance to purchase household necessities such as a stove, dishes, and furniture. Peace Corps will provide additional items, such as a carbon monoxide detector and water filter, if necessary. Volunteers in areas that experience unbearably cold winters can be reimbursed for the purchase of an appropriate heater. Depending on the site, Volunteer housing generally consists of two or more rooms and private bath and latrine facilities. Some Volunteers live in family compounds with one or two private rooms for their use.

While many Volunteers in Morocco have running water and electricity, you may not have these amenities and may collect your water from an outside faucet or well and spend your evenings reading by candle or lantern. You need to be very flexible in your housing expectations, as there are no guarantees of continuous electricity or water.

Depending on your program and assignment, you may be placed in a community that ranges from a large, semi-urban town to a very small rural village. Some Volunteers share a site, while others are quite a distance from other Volunteers. Peace Corps staff members visit all sites to ensure that they meet the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria. Staff also visit all Volunteers intermittently to provide personal, medical, and professional support.

Living Allowance and Money Management

As a Volunteer in Morocco, you will receive four types of allowances. The first is a one-time settling-in allowance, currently five thousand Moroccan dirhams (MAD 5000), that is used to buy basic household items when you move to your site. This amount is reviewed once a year through a “settling-in survey” to ensure that the allowance is sufficient. You will receive a monthly living allowance, currently MAD 2000, to cover your basic expenses, i.e., food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, communications costs (e.g., cell phone cards, internet access), transportation, reading material, and other incidentals. Your monthly rent will be covered separately by the Peace Corps. The living allowance is paid in local currency and is sent to Volunteers during the third week of each month for the following month. The living allowance is reviewed once a year through a market survey to ensure that it is adequate. You may find that you receive more remuneration than your counterpart or supervisor.

You will also receive a vacation allowance of $24 (currently MAD 220) per month and a travel allowance to cover the cost of work-related trips (pre-approved work-related leave, official Peace Corps events, etc.). The current travel allowance policy is under review.

Most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Morocco with these allowances. Volunteers are strongly discouraged from supplementing their income with money brought from home, as they are expected to live at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues. Nevertheless, credit cards are handy for vacations and travel and can be used in several establishments in the larger cities. Traveler’s checks can be cashed for a small percentage fee. ATMs can be found at most major banks in large cities.

Food and Diet

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available year-round, and all meats except pork are readily available. Dairy products like yogurt and milk can usually be obtained. Although maintaining a vegetarian diet should not be difficult, you will be confronted with cultural issues when visiting Moroccan families, as they will offer you, and expect you to accept, traditional foods. Thus vegetarians need to be flexible about sharing the Moroccan diet when visiting friends and neighbors.

Fresh bread is widely available and is an important part of the Moroccan diet. Pastries are available in larger towns, and pasta is available in almost any small shop.

Mint tea is a Moroccan's favorite drink. It is traditionally very sweet and is served throughout the day. The numerous cafes in Morocco, which are mostly frequented by men, also serve coffee and fresh orange juice. Because Morocco is a Muslim country, beer and wine are not usually available in rural areas.

Transportation

Most Volunteers travel within the country in commercial buses or long-distance taxis (grand taxi). Local taxis (petit taxis) are available in all medium and large cities. If required for their work, Volunteers are issued bicycles with bicycle helmets. To reduce safety risks, Peace Corps/Morocco prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Nor are Volunteers allowed to own or drive private cars. Violation of these policies may result in termination of your Volunteer service.

Geography and Climate

Morocco is sometimes referred to as the cold country with the hot sun. The sun shines most of the year, but the cold can penetrate straight to your bones. The country has a varied geography, with beaches, mountains, desert, and agricultural land. The north tends to receive more rain than the south, so the majority of agriculture occurs in the north.

Moving southward, the landscape changes to desert, turning into the Sahara in the deep southeast. Morocco boasts a popular ski resort in the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakech, and on either side of the mountains are flat, hot, and dry plains. Summer is hot all over Morocco, with coastal areas experiencing greater relative humidity than inland areas.

Social Activities

Morocco is more tolerant than many other Muslim nations toward Western cultural norms. But while people in large cities tend to dress in Western clothing, those in rural communities are still very traditional. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural settings and need to conform to local customs. Men have more external freedom than women do in that they can circulate freely outside the home. Cultural norms do not allow men and women to mix freely outside the home, and women tend to spend more time in the home, taking care of domestic affairs and socializing with other women. Moroccans are known for their hospitality, and you should expect invitations to dinner, weddings, and other social functions.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

The people of Morocco take pride in their personal appearance. To gain their acceptance, respect, and confidence, it is essential that you dress and conduct yourself professionally. Dress standards for Volunteers are generally conservative. Women may wear pants with long-sleeved shirts for normal work-related activity, but are expected to wear long, casual skirts or dresses for more professional activities (e.g., meetings and/or workshops with Ministry representatives). Men are expected to wear long trousers for most activities.

Adhering to the conservative dress codes in Morocco is a test of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, you should consider the amount of sacrifice and flexibility required to be successful and reevaluate your decision to become a Volunteer.

The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a way that will foster respect within their communities and reflect well on the Peace Corps and on the United States. You will receive an orientation to appropriate behavior and cultural sensitivity during pre-service training. As a Volunteer, you have the status of an invited guest, and thus you need to be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.

Certain behaviors can jeopardize the Peace Corps’ mission in Morocco as well as your personal safety and thus cannot be tolerated by the Peace Corps. Engaging in these behaviors may lead to administrative separation, a decision by the Peace Corps to terminate your service. The Volunteer Handbook provides more information on the grounds for administrative separation.

Personal Safety

More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (often alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as wealthy are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help Volunteers reduce their risks and enhance their safety and security. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

Although the potential for job satisfaction is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Because of financial or other challenges, collaborating agencies do not always provide the support promised. Moreover, the pace of work and life is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to, and some people you work with may be hesitant to change practices and traditions that are centuries old. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.

You will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. Often you will find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. Positive progress most often comes only after the combined efforts of several Volunteers over the course of many years. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.

To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. The Peace Corps staff, your co-workers, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success. Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Morocco feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.