Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Sierra Leone" and "Volunteers who served in Macedonia"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
(Created page with '{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}} In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps is making special efforts to see t…')
 
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
 
  
In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with
+
== 2000s ==
host countries, the Peace Corps is making special efforts to
+
see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer
+
corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace
+
Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race,
+
ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation
+
are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of
+
the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that
+
Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that
+
each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our
+
many differences.
+
  
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways,
+
<!--Categories-->
however, it poses challenges. In Sierra Leone, as in other
+
[[Category:Macedonia]]
Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle,
+
background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very
+
different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or
+
characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may
+
be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Sierra
+
Leone.
+
 
+
Outside of Sierra Leone’s capital, residents of rural
+
communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other
+
cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as
+
typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception,
+
such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond
+
hair and blue eyes. The people of Sierra Leone 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 cultural differences that you present.
+
 
+
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Sierra Leone,
+
you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental
+
compromises in how you present yourself as an American and
+
as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers
+
may not be able to exercise the independence available to
+
them in the United States; political discussions need to be
+
handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs
+
may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop
+
techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and
+
other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and
+
sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be
+
on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be
+
your own.
+
 
+
===Overview of Diversity in Sierra Leone===
+
 
+
The Peace Corps staff in Sierra Leone recognizes the
+
adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor
+
to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training,
+
several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping
+
mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female
+
Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages,
+
religions, and sexual orientations, and hope you will become
+
part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in
+
supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of
+
American culture.
+
 
+
===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
+
 
+
Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an
+
oddity because most women, particularly in rural areas, are
+
married, some with children, by the time they are in their 20s.
+
Single women may also face what in the United States would
+
 
+
be considered inappropriate advances from male colleagues,
+
supervisors, and acquaintances. Gender roles have changed
+
drastically over the years in the United States; it can be a
+
challenge to adapt to a culture with more traditional roles
+
and to know how to effectively set boundaries. Unwanted
+
attention, and even harassment, can be one of the greatest
+
frustrations as a female PCV.
+
 
+
Above and beyond traditional gender roles and possible
+
harassment, is the possibility of sexual violence. Sexual
+
violence against women is a reality in Sierra Leone. Rape was
+
used as a weapon of war and the government has launched
+
campaigns to address this problem with the hope of reducing
+
its occurrence. Domestic violence is also a possibility in this
+
post-conflict country. According to police, most acts of sexual
+
violence occur between people who know each other. Female
+
Volunteers must exercise caution with their consumption
+
of alcohol and going out in the evening unaccompanied.
+
Volunteers will learn what is and is not acceptable in the
+
Sierra Leonean culture, such as when it is and is not advisable
+
to invite men into their homes. Often, Volunteers must take an
+
even more conservative approach than their Sierra Leonean
+
friends and colleagues.
+
 
+
Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training,
+
and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any
+
problems.
+
 
+
Volunteers should report any concerns or incidents to the
+
Peace Corps medical officer (PCMO) or country director (CD)
+
immediately.
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
+
 
+
Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally
+
not experience overt biases. However, Sierra Leoneans may
+
make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s
+
background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers
+
are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu and African-
+
American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra
+
Leonean.
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Varying Ages====
+
 
+
In Sierra Leonean culture, people respect age as bringing
+
wisdom and experience. Volunteers in their 20s sometimes
+
find they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as
+
professional colleagues. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are
+
automatically accorded respect. In turn, older Volunteers
+
might find that almost too much is expected of them
+
because of their age; or conversely, older Volunteers who
+
are accustomed to living independent lives may at first feel
+
frustrated by the fact that younger Sierra Leoneans want to
+
do things for them.
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
+
 
+
Most cultures in Sierra Leone consider homosexuality taboo.
+
Homosexuality certainly exists in Sierra Leone, but there is no
+
open homosexual community.
+
 
+
Volunteers who are lesbian, along with female Volunteers who
+
are heterosexual, will have to deal with constant questions
+
about boyfriends, marriage, and sex. Some female Volunteers
+
wear an “engagement ring” to avoid unwanted attention.
+
While this practice might be helpful, it might also create
+
complications.
+
 
+
Volunteers may not be able to freely discuss their sexual
+
orientation with new friends and family; this can obviously be
+
very difficult. Peace Corps staff is aware of this challenge and
+
will offer support as you navigate through your new culture.
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
+
 
+
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps
+
Office of Medical Services determined you were physically
+
and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable
+
accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service
+
in Sierra Leone without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself
+
or interruption of service. The Peace Corps/Sierra Leone
+
staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable
+
accommodations for them in training, housing, jobsites, or
+
other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
+
 
+
As a result of the protracted war, there are many amputees
+
in Sierra Leone. Some support themselves by begging, so a
+
Volunteer with disabilities may receive offers of assistance
+
or notice stereotypes based on common interactions Sierra
+
Leoneans have with amputees.
+
 
+
====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers====
+
 
+
While serving as a married couple offers unique challenges
+
and rewards, there are none specific to service in Sierra
+
Leone. In general, more traditional gender roles exist. So, a
+
married couple with a husband who helps cook or clean might
+
draw teasing or even unwanted comments. Generally couples
+
will be regularly asked why they do not yet have children and
+
when will they start a family.
+

Revision as of 22:45, 24 February 2008

2000s