FAQs about Peace Corps in Guyana
- 1 How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Guyana?
- 2 What is the electric current in Guyana?
- 3 When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- 4 Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- 5 Do I need an international driver’s license?
- 6 What should I bring as gifts for Guyanese friends and my host family?
- 7 Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- 8 How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- 9 Can I call home from Guyana?
- 10 Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- 11 Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Guyana?
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. The larger piece of checked baggage may not exceed 62 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave receivers, as a source of news in rural areas, are permitted), automobiles, motorcycles, or motor scooters to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution. Please check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Website for a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permittedprohibited-items.shtm.
What is the electric current in Guyana?
The electric current is 110 volts in urban areas and 110 volts with some 220-volt outlets in rural areas. The 110-volt outlets use the same type of prongs as in the United States, but the 220-volt outlets have three prongs in the British style. Three-prong adapters are available in Guyana.
When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
Upon being sworn in, each Volunteer accumulates two vacation days per month, but you are not allowed to use your vacation time during training and your first three months as a Volunteer. The first months at your site are important for establishing good relationships with the Guyanese in your community, so you are encouraged to remain at your site. Because adaptation to a new culture occurs over many months, the Peace Corps suggests that you postpone any vacations until at least six months of service and preferably until after one year. During the last three months of service, you are expected to be saying goodbyes and finishing projects, so vacation is not authorized in that period. Given that you will probably want to take your vacation when your family or friends visit, please plan their visits to coincide with your vacation time.
Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase such insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
Volunteers in Guyana do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks, boats, and lots of walking.
What should I bring as gifts for Guyanese friends and my host family?
Though this is not a requirement, we encourage you to bring an inexpensive gift for your host family. Some suggestions include knickknacks for the house; bedsheets in American styles; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away; decks of cards, coloring books and crayons for children; scented candles or potpourri; perfume; or nail polish. Do not get carried away; a token of friendship is sufficient.
Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until after they have completed pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and cross-cultural skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with ministry counterparts. If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, many factors influence the site selection process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within a few hours from another Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital. There is at least one Volunteer based in each of the regional capitals and two to four Volunteers in Georgetown.
How can my family contact me in an emergency?
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2515, 2516, or 2525.
Can I call home from Guyana?
You may receive international phone calls at the Peace Corps office, but placing direct-dial international calls or sending faxes from the office is not allowed (although you can place an international call with an AT&T account or other long-distance credit card with prior approval from the country director). You must use local facilities in Georgetown for these services. Volunteers may place long-distance calls and send faxes within Guyana from the Peace Corps office with the prior approval of a staff member.
Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
It is fine to bring your own cellphone, but be aware that all costs related to, and problems that arise from, your cellular service in Guyana are your responsibility. Peace Corps/Guyana does not require that Volunteers have cellphones. If you are considering bringing a cellphone, it is also important to know that cellular service is fully digital and only some models of U.S.-bought cellphones will be compatible with the service.
Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
There are computers with Internet access and printers available for Volunteer use in the Peace Corps office. Volunteers must provide their own paper. If the computers are being used, access to a staff computer can be arranged (for work-related purposes) through the administrative officer. All the major towns and many villages have Internet cafés, which offer services at a reasonable cost. Most Volunteers serving in Guyana do not bring their own computers. They can be difficult and expensive to maintain given the dust, heat, humidity, and power surges. Any Volunteer who decides to bring a laptop is strongly encouraged to acquire personal property insurance. The Peace Corps cannot be responsible for loss or theft of personal items such as computers.