|−||fatalitydate=1994/ 05/08 |+|
|−||uscity=San Jose |+|
|−||program =Education |+|
|−||assignment01=Secondary Teacher/Training |+|
|−||yearserviceended= 1994 |+|
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|−|SUNDAY, MAY 8, 1994, THOMAS BARAKATT, Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa, died in a swimming accident while visiting other Volunteers on the island of Savai'i. Tragically, the accident occurred the evening of Mother's Day. Thomas had spent the earlier part of the day visiting his home-stay Samoan family, where he had given a gift to his Samoan mother. Later in the day, Thomas had prepared a dinner of pumpkin soup for other Volunteers who had gathered together on this weekend. <br><br> |+|
|−|Thomas, a native of San Jose, California, began his Peace Corps service in January of 1993. He was a teacher at Avele College, an all boys high school outside of the capital city of Aoia. where he taught accounting and economics. The commitment Thomas gave went far beyond his school. At a memorial service at Avele College for Thomas, his pre-service training host father from the village of Samatau stated, "During the new Peace Corps cross- cultural training I chose Thomas as my 'son', thus making my aiga as his Samoan family. I chose him because he was humble. Last weekend, he gave my wife and my sister Mother's Day presents before he went to Savai'i. Every time he came 'home', he wanted to greet everyone in the family, and when he left, he said good-bye to each one of the family. It was his usual way of coming and leaving home. "<br><br> |+|
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|−|His first year in Samoa, Thomas bicycled the coastal road all the way around the big island of Savai'i with his friend and fellow Volunteer Fritz Kuhlman. Together they snorkled and dove the reefs and volcanic pools of the islands. <br><br> |+|
|−|These are the types of adventures that Peace Corps Volunteers throughout the world seek out in an attempt to enjoy life to the fullest. |+|
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|−|Thomas lost his life in his last adventure. There are those who think adventures of this sort are foolish. Those like Thomas could simply never |+|
|−|live any other way. <br> |+|
|−|The above was written by Larrie Warren and published in the Peace Corps Times, Fall 1994<br> |+|
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|−|Larrie Warren is/was the Country Director in Western Samoa. <br> |+|
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|−|Wiki last updated 04- Sept- 2010 by Thomas' younger brother, Michael Barakatt--<br> |+|
|−|We miss you, Tom and look forward to the day we will see you again in Glory. |+|
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Revision as of 10:55, 21 May 2014
Training is held in communities that are as similar as possible to the typical site for a given project. During your pre-service training, you will live with a host family. Other trainees from your program will live in the same village, but you will all have your own host family. All of your language, technical, cross-cultural and community development, and personal health and safety sessions will take place either in your host village or a neighboring community. Current Volunteers are available during PST to assist in training and to answer your questions.
Training days are long and demanding, so be prepared. Your day will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch and other short breaks throughout the day. On Saturdays, you will have classes from 7:30 a.m. until noon. Training is an essential part of your Peace Corps service. Our goal is to give you sufficient skills and information to prepare you for living and working in Togo. Pre-service training uses an experiential approach wherever possible. Rather than reading and/or hearing about Volunteer activities, you will be practicing, processing, and evaluating actual or simulated activities.
The 11 weeks of pre-service training are divided into two phases. Phase I runs for the first six weeks and is very intensive in French language and cultural training. Additionally, there are sessions on safety and security, medical/health, and some technical training. This first phase will help you develop basic language and cultural adaptation skills.
Phase II is also very intensive, but it centers on technical training. Language classes will continue, and technical material will increasingly be presented and practiced in French. Some trainees will begin local language classes during this phase, depending on their level of French. Safety and Security training and medical/health training also continue.
During the second or third week of training, your program director will interview you about possible sites to help identify a post that is linked to your skills, interests, and needs. During the seventh or eighth week, you will spend a week at your site. This will be your first contact with your future site and will provide an idea of what real Volunteer life is like, what work options exist, and an opportunity to know more of Togo. It also gives you a break from the intense, structured regime of the pre-service training schedule.
Technical training prepares you to work in Togo by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Togolese experts, and current Volunteers conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.
Technical training will include sessions on general environmental, economics, and the political situation in Togo and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Togolese agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them.
You will be supported and evaluated by the training staff throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you will need to undertake your project activities and to be a productive member of your community.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, will help you integrate into your host community, and ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements in order to complete training and become a Volunteer. Experienced Togolese language instructors teach formal language classes 5 days a week in small classes of four to five people. Language is also introduced in the health, culture, and technical components of training.
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom instruction, you will be given language assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. Our goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills in French and a local language so that you can practice and develop language skills more thoroughly once you are at your site. Prior to swearing in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Togolese host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life at your site. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Togo. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
Cross-cultural and community development will be covered to help improve your skills of perception, communication, and facilitation. Topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, and traditional and political structures are also addressed.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. As a Volunteer, you are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. As a trainee, you are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Togo. Sexual health and harassment, nutrition, mental health, and safety issues are also covered.
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continuous opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills.
During your service, there are usually two training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
- In-Service Training (IST): Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment to the Peace Corps. The first IST will take place during the first three months of service. The second will occur later during the first year of service. Volunteers also attend An IST in their second year.
- Close-of-Service Conference: Prepares Volunteers for
the future after Peace Corps service, and reviews Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences.
The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.