Difference between pages "Kyrgyzstan" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea"

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{{CountryboxAlternative
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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
|Countryname= Kyrgyzstan
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are 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.  
|CountryCode = kg
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|status= [[ACTIVE]]
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|Flag= Flag_of_Kyrgyzstan.svg
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|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/kgwb307.pdf
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|Region= [[Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
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|CountryDirector= [[Tammie Harris]]
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|Sectors= [[Sustainable Economic Development]]<br>[[Education]] <br> [[Heath]]
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|ProgramDates= [[1993]] - [[Present]]
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|CurrentlyServing= 73
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|TotalVolunteers= 1020
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|Languages= [[Kyrgyz]], [[Russian]]
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|Map= Kg-map.gif
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|stagingdate= Mar 26 2010
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|stagingcity= Philadelphia
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}}
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Guinea, as in other 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 Guinea.
  
The Peace Corps began its program in Kyrgyz Republic in 1993.  
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Outside of Guinea’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 Guinea 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.  
  
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Guinea, 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.
  
==Peace Corps History==
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===Overview of Diversity in Guinea===
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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The Peace Corps staff in Guinea recognizes 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 that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
Since the first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in the Kyrgyz Republic in 1993, more than 800 Americans have served in the country. Current Volunteers teach English, help Non-Governmental Organizations with their strategies and programs, and work with schools and community health committees to teach and promote healthy behaviors.  The Peace Corps’ programs respond to requests from the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to assist with increasing the level of English competency among its students and teachers and to help communities and civil society organizations develop sustainable community development projects.  Like many Peace Corps countries, the Volunteers were evacuated after 9/11/01.  They returned the following year.  There are currently 80 Volunteers in country.
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===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
  
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles==
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
  
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an oddity by Guineans because most Guinean women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are 20. Single women also face what in the United States would be considered inappropriate advances from Guinean male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems. These problems become less common once Volunteers have been accepted into their communities and have built a network of female friends and co-workers.
  
Peace Corps/Kyrgyz Republic assigns Volunteers to the sites with the greatest need and to schools and organizations that demonstrate potential for making the best use of Volunteers’ skills. Peace Corps/Kyrgyz Republic has a mandatory three-month homestay policy and asks the sponsoring agency to provide the Volunteer with adequate, safe housing, which is paid for by the Peace Corps. The housing varies from site to site and is typically with a family or within a family’s compound.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
  
The housing will have simple basic furniture such as a bed, a table and chairs, a wardrobe or bureau for clothing, and access to a stove. Basic appliances such as refrigerators and temp controlled ovens are almost non existent among rural families. If PCVs require such items they may have to purchase them out of their own pockets. The Peace Corps will provide you with a water filter or distiller. In addition, because winters in the Kyrgyz Republic are cold and many heating systems are inadequate, the Peace Corps will also provide you with an electric heater. Still, you will probably need long underwear and will definitely need a warm sleeping bag, as electricity is not always reliable.
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Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Guineans 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 because of an Anglicized French accent.  
  
You need to be very flexible in your housing expectations, as there is no guarantee that there will be an indoor toilet or that running water or electricity will be available continuously at your assigned site.
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Caucasian Volunteers may be annoyed by local terms for “white people” such as toubab, porto, or foté, but should understand that they are not pejorative. Even educated, middle-class Guineans are also sometimes referred to by those terms. Once Volunteers become known in their towns, children’s curiosity and name-calling diminish.  
  
==Training==
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
''Main article: [[Training in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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Volunteers in their early 20s sometimes find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Guineans of the same age often are still pursuing an education. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect, since Guinean culture recognizes that wisdom and experience come with age.
  
Training is an essential part of Peace Corps service. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to live and work effectively in the Kyrgyz Republic. You will receive training and orientation in language, cross-cultural communication, area studies, health and personal safety and security, and technical skills relevant to your specific assignment. The skills you learn will serve as a foundation upon which you will build your experience as a Volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic. You will study either Kyrgyz or Russian, based on the language used most at your future site.
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=====
  
For your first two days in-country, you will stay at a training facility in Bishkek, after which you will move to the permanent training site located approximately half an hour outside of the capitol. Once there, you will live with a host family in a rural village or small town with a few other trainees. While you and your fellow trainees will meet as a group, you will also have a chance to experience Kyrgyz customs on your own with your host family and on technical field trips. These experiences will help bring to life the topics covered in training and will give you the chance to practice your new language skills and directly observe and participate in Kyrgyz culture.
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Homosexuality is not publicly acknowledged or discussed in Guinean society. Although gay and lesbian Volunteers generally choose not to be open about their sexual orientation, they have successfully worked in Guinea.  
  
==Your Health Care and Safety==
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
  
''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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Guinea is, for the most part, a Muslim country (the exception is in the Forest Region, where Christians and animists are more numerous). Being of a different religion is not a problem, as Guineans are very tolerant. They may not always agree with your beliefs, but they will not act negatively toward you because of them.
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in the Kyrgyz Republic 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 locally. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities ====
  
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As a disabled Volunteer in Guinea, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Physically challenged Volunteers will be treated initially with curiosity. Those who require ambulatory devices will encounter obstacles to mobility because there are no ramps or lifts on public transportation or in buildings. But those who serve will ultimately win respect and be considered role models.
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
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As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of serving in Guinea without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Guinea staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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[[Category:Guinea]]
 
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In the Kyrgyz Republic, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, 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 the Kyrgyz Republic.
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Outside of Bishkek, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. Members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
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* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
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* 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 Issues for Married Volunteers
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* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
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Also, outside of Bishkek and Osh, dating the locals of Kyrgyzstan is an extremely slippery slope.  For men there is pretty much no sex, or often even kissing, without some kind of promise to marry.  American women are seen by locals as loose women and will be expected to act as so. Extreme care should be taken when attempting intimate relations with locals.
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==Frequently Asked questions==
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{{Volunteersurvey2008
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|H1r=  33
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|H1s=  72.8
+
|H2r=  61
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|H2s=  75.8
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|H3r=  40
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|H3s=  83.3
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|H4r=  61
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|H4s=  98.5
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|H5r=  50
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|H5s=  47
+
|H6r=  47
+
|H6s=  76.6
+
}}
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''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan]]''
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* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to the Kyrgyz Republic?
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* What is the electric current in the Kyrgyz Republic?
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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 Kyrgyz 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 the Kyrgyz Republic?
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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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==Packing List==
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''Main article: [[Packing List for Kyrgyzstan]]''
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in the Kyrgyz Republic and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each Volunteer’s experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. The most important things to bring are yourself, a sense of humor, and a sense of adventure!
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Dress is very important in the Kyrgyz Republic. The popular image of a Peace Corps Volunteer in sandals and a T-shirt with a university logo is not appropriate in this country (nor is military-style clothing or accessories). Fair or not, people are judged by the way they dress in the Kyrgyz Republic, more so than in the United States. Your colleagues will dress as professionals and for you to do otherwise will be considered disrespectful. If you come to work inappropriately dressed, your colleagues, students, and others in the community will probably not say anything to you directly but may talk unfavorably about you to others. Following the lead of your co-workers will help you gain acceptance and respect in your community. This does not mean that you need to spend a lot of money on new clothing. Rather, be selective in what you bring, and consider buying some of your professional clothing in Bishkek. The quality and style may not be equal to that found in American brands, but they are the same clothes your local colleagues will be wearing.
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* General Clothing
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* For Men
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* For Women
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* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
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* Kitchen
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* Miscellaneous
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==Peace Corps News==
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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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''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+%22kyrgyzstan%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
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<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/kg/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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==Country Fund==
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Contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=307-CFD Kyrgyz Republic Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Kyrgyz Republic. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
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==See also==
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* [[Volunteers who served in Kyrgyzstan]]
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* [[Friends of Kyrgyzstan]]
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* [[List of resources for Kyrgyzstan]]
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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.freenet.kg/peacecorps/ Kyrgyzstan Homepage]
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* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/kg.html Peace Corps Journals - Kyrgyzstan]
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[[Category:Kyrgyzstan]] [[Category:Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
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[[Category:Country]]
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Revision as of 15:41, 9 May 2011

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, 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.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are 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, however, it poses challenges. In Guinea, as in other 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 Guinea.

Outside of Guinea’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 Guinea 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 Guinea, 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 Guinea

The Peace Corps staff in Guinea recognizes 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 that 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 by Guineans because most Guinean women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are 20. Single women also face what in the United States would be considered inappropriate advances from Guinean male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems. These problems become less common once Volunteers have been accepted into their communities and have built a network of female friends and co-workers.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Guineans 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 because of an Anglicized French accent.

Caucasian Volunteers may be annoyed by local terms for “white people” such as toubab, porto, or foté, but should understand that they are not pejorative. Even educated, middle-class Guineans are also sometimes referred to by those terms. Once Volunteers become known in their towns, children’s curiosity and name-calling diminish.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Volunteers in their early 20s sometimes find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Guineans of the same age often are still pursuing an education. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect, since Guinean culture recognizes that wisdom and experience come with age.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=

Homosexuality is not publicly acknowledged or discussed in Guinean society. Although gay and lesbian Volunteers generally choose not to be open about their sexual orientation, they have successfully worked in Guinea.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

Guinea is, for the most part, a Muslim country (the exception is in the Forest Region, where Christians and animists are more numerous). Being of a different religion is not a problem, as Guineans are very tolerant. They may not always agree with your beliefs, but they will not act negatively toward you because of them.

Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities

As a disabled Volunteer in Guinea, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Physically challenged Volunteers will be treated initially with curiosity. Those who require ambulatory devices will encounter obstacles to mobility because there are no ramps or lifts on public transportation or in buildings. But those who serve will ultimately win respect and be considered role models.

As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of serving in Guinea without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Guinea staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.