Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Swaziland" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Peru"

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{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
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{{FAQs by country}}
  
  
===Communications ===
 
  
===Mail ===
 
  
Postal rates in Swaziland are reasonable, and airmail to the United States generally takes two to three weeks.  Aerogrammes and other mailing supplies can be purchased at post offices. Sending large packages via airmail can be very expensive, but smaller items such as cassettes can be sent via airmail for a reasonable charge. Surface mail takes two to four months to reach the United States. During pre-service training, you will receive mail at the training location. During Volunteer service, you are likely to be able to receive mail directly at your site.
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Peru? ===
  
===Telephones ===
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You will most likely be flying American Airlines or Delta Airlines to Peru. The baggage size and weight limits change from time to time. Currently, passengers are allowed to check two bags with each weighing up to 50 pounds and with certain size restrictions. Passengers are also allowed one carry-on bag, plus a purse, briefcase, or laptop. We strongly advise you to check current limits on the airline’s website once you know the carrier you will be taking to Peru. You will be responsible for any excess-baggage charges.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/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm.
  
Domestic and international phone service is available in large towns and in some villages. You will certainly have the opportunity to make or receive international calls during your service. Cellular phones are becoming more affordable as cellular service is available throughout Swaziland, and Peace Corps/Swaziland provides Volunteers with funds to purchase a cellular phone after completion of pre-service training.  However, depending on network coverage, you may not be able to telephone your home from your site on a regular basis.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters, or motorized vehicles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or other items restricted by the airlines or the Department of Homeland Security. It is best not to pack aerosol containers.  
  
===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
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You will be passing through Peruvian customs upon your arrival. While all normal personal items are acceptable, there are limits on the number of certain electronic items that may be brought to the country. For example, a Volunteer may bring in only one laptop.
  
E-mail access is available at Internet cafés in Mbabane and other large towns. As telephone service has increased, so has Internet access. You are likely to have access to these services approximately every one to two months, unless there is access near your site. You should not expect to have access to the Internet and e-mail during pre-service training.
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===What is the electric current in Peru? ===
Not much people have them, only the ones who is very rich.
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☺☺  ☺☺ ☺☺☺☺
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☺☺☺☺☺☺  ☺☺
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☺☺  ☺☺ ☺☺☺☺
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===Housing and Site Location ===
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The current is 220 volts. Electrical appliances that utilize 110 volts require a transformer.
  
Your community will provide safe and adequate housing in accordance with the Peace Corps’ site selection criteria.  However, you need to be very flexible in your housing expectations. Housing will vary from a mud house with a thatch or tin roof to a cement block house to a room with a local family in a traditional homestead. Most Volunteers live on rural homesteads with Swazi host families. There is no guarantee that you will have running water or electricity; if you do not, you will collect your water from a community tap and spend evenings reading by candlelight or lantern. You will receive a settling-in allowance in local currency to purchase necessary household items.
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===How much money should I bring? ===
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which are adequate to cover all your expenses. Similarly during training, you will be provided with a “walk-around” allowance, to cover all expenses. Trainees may, however, wish to bring a small amount of cash, perhaps $50 to $100, with them to Peru for initial or extra expenses. Dollars are easily exchanged into Peruvian currency virtually anywhere in Peru.
  
The Peace Corps provides each Volunteer with a small allowance during training, a settling-in allowance, and a monthly living allowance for routine, basic expenses. A leave allowance equivalent to $24 a month and a travel allowance for official in-country travel are also provided. The allowances are calculated to allow a modest lifestyle in Swaziland, which most Volunteers find to be adequate.  
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From time to time, Volunteers may wish to have additional money for vacation travel or other special occasions. Cash can be obtained from ATM machines throughout Peru and South America. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are widely accepted (note that some Volunteers report that American Express traveler’s checks are more readily accepted than other brands).  
  
The local currency is the lilangeni (plural: emalangeni). South African rand are also accepted as legal tender. MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted in Swaziland, while Visa has more limited use. Traveler’s checks are also widely accepted. (Be sure to keep the original receipt of purchase.) Volunteers recommend that you bring some U.S. currency and credit cards if you plan to travel during vacations or after your service. The amount of cash you need will depend on the amount of traveling you plan to do.  In neighboring South Africa, credit cards are widely accepted at places of business, and there are many ATMs that provide access to bank accounts in the United States.
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
The local people ususally get about $200 per month which is not alot but they still can live thourg it very well even it very hard. :) ☺☺☺☻☻☺☺
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You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel in Peru and other South American countries. Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may normally not be taken during training, the first three months of service (an important time for developing good relationships with Peruvians in your community), or the last three months of service (when you will be completing your projects). Travel outside Peru may normally not be taken during the first six months of service. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after you have been at your site for six months and as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and should be discussed with your associate Peace Corps director in advance. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.
  
===Food and Diet ===
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
The staple food in Swaziland is corn, prepared as a thick porridge and eaten with vegetables or a sauce. Common vegetables include tomatoes, greens, potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Various fruits and vegetables are available seasonally, which means that some things will not be in markets year-round. A variety of meat and dairy products is also available.  You are likely to find canned goods and basic food items throughout Swaziland. Vegetarians will be able to maintain a healthy diet in Swaziland after becoming familiar with local food items and their preparation. However, being a vegetarian will require some compromises and a willingness to continually explain your diet to others.
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. You are encouraged to purchase personal property insurance before you leave the United States. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, the Peace Corps will provide you with insurance application forms, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not take valuable items overseas.  Jewelry and expensive watches, radios, cameras, and electronic equipment are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and satisfactory maintenance and repair services may not be available. It is advisable to bring inexpensive items, or to purchase them once in Peru.  
  
===Transportation ===
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
The primary modes of transportation in Swaziland are public buses and minivans. Minivans travel between towns on irregular schedules (i.e., when full), so travel via this form of transport is never a timed affair. Bus schedules are fairly regular, but buses generally are not available in remote, rural areas. Roads generally are in good condition in the larger towns and cities. Poorly maintained vehicles, livestock wandering into the road, and intoxicated drivers are the main causes of road accidents in Swaziland.  
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No. Volunteers in Peru are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles.  
  
Swaziland Volunteers receive an all-terrain bicycle (along with a helmet) to facilitate transportation to and from their work. Peace Corps policy requires that helmets be worn when riding. The bikes provided by the Peace Corps are men’s bikes, which can be difficult for women to ride when wearing a skirt. Female Volunteers often wear shorts under their skirts to accommodate this.
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===What should I bring as gifts for Peruvian friends and my host family? ===
  
Volunteers are not allowed to own or operate motor vehicles, including motorcycles. Furthermore, Volunteers are not allowed to ride or be a passenger on a motorcycle. All trainees will receive a copy of Peace Corps/Swaziland’s transportation policy during pre-service training. Violation of this policy will result in your being terminated from Volunteer service.  
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This is not a requirement, but a simple token of friendship is a nice gesture. Knick-nacks for the house are usually appropriate gifts—framed pictures or photos, books, calendars of American scenes, or souvenirs from your area.  
  
===Geography and Climate ===
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training, and how isolated will I be? ===
  
Swaziland can be divided into four distinct geographical areas, running north to south, each with its own climate and other characteristics: highveld, middleveld, lowveld (or bushveld), and the Lubombo Plateau.  
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Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to their permanent sites until the seventh or eighth week of pre-service training.  
  
On the western border is the highveld, lying on the edge of an escarpment at altitudes averaging 4,000 feet. This mountainous area has abundant rivers, waterfalls, and gorges. The climate is temperate with wet, warm summers and cold, dry winters. The capital, Mbabane, is located in this area. Moving toward the east, at a lower altitude, is the middleveld, which gets slightly less rain, has a warm climate, and features lush, fertile valleys. This region is the main area for agriculture and industry and has the densest populationAdjacent to the middleveld is the lowveld, which is hotter and drier than the areas to the west. Major export crops such as sugarcane and citrus fruits are cultivated here. Dominated by grasslands and thorn trees, the region is the least populated area. Eastern Swaziland consists of the Lubombo Plateau, an escarpment bordering Mozambique. This mountainous area is broken by three main rivers and has a subtropical climate much like that of the middleveld.  
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This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s skill set prior to assigning sites. You will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, but Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you might like to be. The final decision will be based on the best match between your skills and community needs, and may be in a major city, a mid-sized town, a small town, or a rural villageEven if assigned to a small town or rural village, you will be within three or four hours by bus from a city or large town, and will likely be within an hour by foot or ground transportation from another Volunteer’s site.  
  
The moderate climate ranges from subtropical to temperate depending on the altitude. June through September is cool and dry, but often cold at night, while October through May is warm and wet. Higher elevations are generally cloudy, mist covered, and about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the country. The temperature in Mbabane ranges from 59 to 77 degrees in January and 42 to 67 degrees in July (Farenheit).
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
===Social Activities ===
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The Peace Corps Office of Special Services (OSS) provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify OSS immediately if an emergency arises, such as the serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 202.692.1470. It can also be reached through Peace Corps’ toll-free number at: 800.424.8580, extension 1470.  After normal business hours, and on weekends and holidays, the OSS duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574.
  
Your social life will vary depending on where you are located. In more rural communities, the major pastime is visiting with neighbors and friends. Cultural festivities, sporting events, weddings, and even funerals provide opportunities to meet and catch up with community members and their extended families.  
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For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from the country desk staff at the Peace Corps. The desk staff can be reached at 202.692.2515, 2516, or 2525. Or they can be reached through the toll-free number: 800.424.8580, extensions 2515, 2516, or 2525.  
  
Although Volunteers often want to visit other Volunteers on weekends or holidays, the Peace Corps encourages Volunteers to remain at their sites to develop relationships in their community and to promote the second goal of the Peace Corps, i.e., cultural exchange. Also, in accordance with the Peace Corps’ philosophy of full community integration, Volunteers are deemed to be on duty seven days a week, except on national or local holidays.
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===Can I call home from Peru? ===
  
Swaziland has a few television stations and several radio stations that play popular music.  
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International phone service to and from Peru is good in major cities. Volunteers have the option of purchasing cell phones which can call to the states, and can also receive phone calls from the states free of charge.  Volunteers in smaller communities will typically have access to a community telephone, through which international calls may be made and received. Most Volunteers also have cellular phones. There are reasonably priced local and international calling cards are available in Peru.
  
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
  
Swazis value professional dress in the workplace, and dress is more conservative in rural areas than it is in cities. In the United States, we often view clothes as a reflection of our individuality. In Swaziland, dressing well is seen as a sign of your respect for others, and how you are viewed by your local colleagues will be highly dependent on the way you present yourself. Swazis do not appreciate clothes that are dirty, have holes in them, or are too revealing. Wearing such clothes will reduce the amount of respect given to you and therefore your effectiveness. While jeans and T-shirts are acceptable as casual wear, it is more common to see men in shirts with collars and casual slacks and women in casual dresses or skirts or slacks with blouses or shirts.  
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While you may or may not have Internet access at your site, there are numerous, affordable Internet locations throughout the country. Most Volunteers bring laptops and find that they come in handy. However, if you bring your laptop, the Peace Corps strongly encourages you to insure it.  
  
The Peace Corps expects you to behave in a way that not only fosters respect toward you but reflects well on both the Peace Corps and the United States. Your dress, behavior, and attitude will all contribute to how well the agency is received.  As an invited guest, you must be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.
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===How can people send things to me in Peru? ===
  
===Personal Safety ===
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We do not recommend that people mail packages, money, airline tickets, or other valuable items to Volunteers. Customs duties may exceed the value of the items sent, and packages often disappear in transit. The modern supermarkets and well-stocked stores in Lima and other cities have anything you will need. Should family or friends need to send you something, we strongly recommend that the package be under half a kilo (1.1 pounds), with a declared value of under $100, and mailed in a padded envelope. Once you are at your site, all mail, including packages, should be sent to your regional mailbox. We strongly discourage people sending you items via courier services (e.g., DHL or FedEx), as both the sender and the receiver must often pay fees. If your friends or family want to send you something for a special occasion, it would be best for them to deposit the money into your account in the U.S. You can then access the funds from an ATM machine and purchase something special in Peru.
  
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety section, 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 (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off 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, although most Swaziland Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Swaziland. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
 
  
===Rewards and Frustrations ===
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[[Category:Peru]]
 
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Invariably, Volunteers who have completed their service speak of the relationships that they have established as the highlight of their service. Many speak of how they learned to value and respect a more family- and community-centered way of life and of how they have grown in patience and understanding.  Most are able to point to specific contributions they have made to a country’s development. In Swaziland, such contributions might include increasing the dialogue about HIV/AIDS; helping improve the level of knowledge about HIV/ AIDS among community members, teachers, and students; seeing colleagues try new approaches to nonformal education; and helping a community organize and plan an important project.
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The positive reflections are the endpoint of a series of highs and lows that are part and parcel of the process of leaving the United States, arriving in Swaziland, and adapting to the practices and slower pace of life in a new culture. You will have less guidance and direction than you would get in a new job in the United States. Oftentimes you will need to motivate yourself and your counterpart without receiving any feedback on your work. You will need flexibility, maturity, openmindedness, and resourcefulness to overcome difficulties.  Community development work is not a 9-to-5 job. Often there is little structure in place as a result of the devastation of HIV/AIDS in the rural areas. If you are willing to respect and become integrated into your community, to work hard at your assignment, and to be open to all that Swaziland has to offer, you will be a successful Volunteer. You, too, will be able to look back positively on the relationships you have built and the small differences you have made by virtue of those relationships.
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[[Category:Swaziland]]
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Revision as of 09:17, 30 September 2010

FAQs about Peace Corps
  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
  • What is the electric current?
  • How much money should I bring?
  • When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
  • Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
  • Do I need an international driver’s license?
  • What should I bring as gifts for my host family?
  • Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
  • How can my family contact me in an emergency?
  • Can I call home?
  • Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
  • Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
...and more...

For information see Welcomebooks



How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Peru?

You will most likely be flying American Airlines or Delta Airlines to Peru. The baggage size and weight limits change from time to time. Currently, passengers are allowed to check two bags with each weighing up to 50 pounds and with certain size restrictions. Passengers are also allowed one carry-on bag, plus a purse, briefcase, or laptop. We strongly advise you to check current limits on the airline’s website once you know the carrier you will be taking to Peru. You will be responsible for any excess-baggage charges.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/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters, or motorized vehicles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or other items restricted by the airlines or the Department of Homeland Security. It is best not to pack aerosol containers.

You will be passing through Peruvian customs upon your arrival. While all normal personal items are acceptable, there are limits on the number of certain electronic items that may be brought to the country. For example, a Volunteer may bring in only one laptop.

What is the electric current in Peru?

The current is 220 volts. Electrical appliances that utilize 110 volts require a transformer.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which are adequate to cover all your expenses. Similarly during training, you will be provided with a “walk-around” allowance, to cover all expenses. Trainees may, however, wish to bring a small amount of cash, perhaps $50 to $100, with them to Peru for initial or extra expenses. Dollars are easily exchanged into Peruvian currency virtually anywhere in Peru.

From time to time, Volunteers may wish to have additional money for vacation travel or other special occasions. Cash can be obtained from ATM machines throughout Peru and South America. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are widely accepted (note that some Volunteers report that American Express traveler’s checks are more readily accepted than other brands).

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel in Peru and other South American countries. Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may normally not be taken during training, the first three months of service (an important time for developing good relationships with Peruvians in your community), or the last three months of service (when you will be completing your projects). Travel outside Peru may normally not be taken during the first six months of service. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after you have been at your site for six months and as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and should be discussed with your associate Peace Corps director in advance. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. You are encouraged to purchase personal property insurance before you leave the United States. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, the Peace Corps will provide you with insurance application forms, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not take valuable items overseas. Jewelry and expensive watches, radios, cameras, and electronic equipment are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and satisfactory maintenance and repair services may not be available. It is advisable to bring inexpensive items, or to purchase them once in Peru.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

No. Volunteers in Peru are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles.

What should I bring as gifts for Peruvian friends and my host family?

This is not a requirement, but a simple token of friendship is a nice gesture. Knick-nacks for the house are usually appropriate gifts—framed pictures or photos, books, calendars of American scenes, or souvenirs from your area.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training, and how isolated will I be?

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to their permanent sites until the seventh or eighth week of pre-service training.

This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s skill set prior to assigning sites. You will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, but Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you might like to be. The final decision will be based on the best match between your skills and community needs, and may be in a major city, a mid-sized town, a small town, or a rural village. Even if assigned to a small town or rural village, you will be within three or four hours by bus from a city or large town, and will likely be within an hour by foot or ground transportation from another Volunteer’s site.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps Office of Special Services (OSS) provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify OSS immediately if an emergency arises, such as the serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 202.692.1470. It can also be reached through Peace Corps’ toll-free number at: 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours, and on weekends and holidays, the OSS duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574.

For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from the country desk staff at the Peace Corps. The desk staff can be reached at 202.692.2515, 2516, or 2525. Or they can be reached through the toll-free number: 800.424.8580, extensions 2515, 2516, or 2525.

Can I call home from Peru?

International phone service to and from Peru is good in major cities. Volunteers have the option of purchasing cell phones which can call to the states, and can also receive phone calls from the states free of charge. Volunteers in smaller communities will typically have access to a community telephone, through which international calls may be made and received. Most Volunteers also have cellular phones. There are reasonably priced local and international calling cards are available in Peru.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?

While you may or may not have Internet access at your site, there are numerous, affordable Internet locations throughout the country. Most Volunteers bring laptops and find that they come in handy. However, if you bring your laptop, the Peace Corps strongly encourages you to insure it.

How can people send things to me in Peru?

We do not recommend that people mail packages, money, airline tickets, or other valuable items to Volunteers. Customs duties may exceed the value of the items sent, and packages often disappear in transit. The modern supermarkets and well-stocked stores in Lima and other cities have anything you will need. Should family or friends need to send you something, we strongly recommend that the package be under half a kilo (1.1 pounds), with a declared value of under $100, and mailed in a padded envelope. Once you are at your site, all mail, including packages, should be sent to your regional mailbox. We strongly discourage people sending you items via courier services (e.g., DHL or FedEx), as both the sender and the receiver must often pay fees. If your friends or family want to send you something for a special occasion, it would be best for them to deposit the money into your account in the U.S. You can then access the funds from an ATM machine and purchase something special in Peru.