Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Bangladesh" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay"

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{{Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles by country}}
 
{{Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles by country}}
===Communications===  
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===Communications ===
  
====Mail====  
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====Mail ====
  
Mail becomes a very important lifeline, especially in the beginning when you are adjusting to a new culture, a new language, and a new work situation. Unfortunately, however, mail service between the United States and Bangladesh can be erratic.
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Your mailing address in Paraguay will be:
  
Volunteers report that while most letters and packages eventually arrive, they can take anywhere from a few days to several months to reach you. You can help improve the chances of a speedy arrival by asking family and friends to write “Via Airmail” or “Par Avion” on their letters. You might also want to ask people to number their letters so you can keep track of whether any have been lost.  
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“Your Name,” PCT [for trainee] or PCV [for Volunteer] <br>
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Cuerpo de Paz <br>
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162 Chaco Boreal c/Mcal. López <br>
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Asunción 1580, Paraguay <br>
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South America <br>
  
Packages often take more than a month (and sometimes two or three) to arrive, even when they have been sent by airmail.
 
  
In addition, a tax based on the value of the goods contained in the package must be paid to receive it. Services such as DHL, UPS, and FedEx are faster, but considerably more expensive for both the sender and the Volunteer because of higher customs duties on express packages - sometimes up to $50.  
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Compared with mail in many developing countries, mail between the United States and Paraguay is relatively dependable, albeit slow in arriving. Letters normally take two to three weeks to reach Paraguay; surface mail can take months. Packages and other types of correspondence are delayed much longer and may arrive here in a time lapse which frequently varies from several weeks to several months.  
  
Packages are sometimes opened en route, and the contents may not be returned to the box intact. Small, flat manila envelopes seem to make it through without an extra charge. It is advisable to tell people to not send you anything valuable and to list all the items sent somewhere on the inside of the package.  
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As a result of the departure of two major airlines, only regional carriers now serve Paraguay with smaller aircraft, and cargo space for mail is extremely limited. Packages and other types of correspondence are being delayed for weeks and even months at intermediate points, such as Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, where they await eventual delivery to Paraguay by other means of transport.  
  
Until you get your permanent address at the end of training, your friends and family can send mail to you at the following Peace Corps office address:
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All packages from overseas pass through the Paraguayan International Package Center, where postal and customs inspectors determine which packages will be sent directly to the Peace Corps office for distribution and which will be retained for further inspection. Any package—regardless of content, weight, type of packing material, or religious slogans—may be held at the International Package Center (also known as "the package place" or the "package center"). In this case, the Volunteer will receive a notice in his/her mailbox indicating that the package is being retained. PCVs who receive this notification must collect their parcel/s personally; packages must be retrieved within one month of the date on which the notification is prepared.
  
Peace Corps
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Another option for sending packages to Paraguay is by courier services such as DHL, FEDEX, and UPS. Although these services are more expensive, packages do arrive here in 3-5 days. Another point in favor is that packages sent through courier services do NOT go through the Paraguay Postal Service. U.S. Express Mail works in the same way.
  
House 10F Road 82
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Packages with a declared value—the value claimed on the green sticker affixed to the package—in excess of $100 are usually sent to customs. If the package is sent to customs, the PCV will be assessed a tax based on the type of merchandise and its declared value. Volunteers whose package/s is/are sent to customs will be advised to this effect. Peace Corps/Paraguay‘s customs agent will do the leg- and paperwork to process and retrieve the parcel. The Volunteer is responsible for paying any fees and taxes assessed, as well as the customs agent‘s fees. Note: Packages which arrive through a courier may also be sent to customs.
  
Gulshan 2
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We recommend that you establish a regular pattern of writing or emailing friends and relatives in the United States, as they may become concerned if they do not hear from you for an extended period of time. You may want to tell them, however, that once Volunteers move to their sites and become more involved in their projects, their correspondence habits often change.
  
Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
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Some Volunteers and their families number their letters in sequence to try to keep track of how many have been sent and received. This is a good way to know whether someone is just too busy to write or if letters are not arriving for some other reason.
  
====Telephones====
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Peace Corps regulations prohibit Volunteers from accepting gifts of property, money, or voluntary services directly. Such gifts can cause confusion about the role of the Volunteer, who might be perceived as a facilitator of goods and funding, rather than a person who is working to build a community‘s capacity to identify local resources. You are not permitted to solicit materials or funds for your community during your first six months at site so that you have time to engage the community in project identification. To ensure that any request for funding or donations is appropriate for your project and your community, you must have prior authorization from your program director and the country director.
  
Telephone communications can be frustrating in  
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The Peace Corps has a mechanism in place for you and the communities you work with to access U.S. private-sector funds. The Peace Corps Partnership Program, administered by the Office of Private Sector Initiatives, can help you obtain financial support from corporations, foundations, civic groups, individuals, faith-based groups, and schools for projects approved by the country director. To learn more about the Partnership Program, call 800-424-8580 (ext. 2170), email pcpp@peacecorps.gov.
  
Bangladesh—land lines between towns are not always reliable, and you may have difficulties getting through. However, cellphone service is developing rapidly, even in rural areas.
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====Telephones ====
  
Because of heightened concern worldwide over the safety and security of Americans abroad, Peace Corps/Bangladesh recently decided to provide all its Volunteers with a cellphone, which can be used to call any other cellphone in the country. Volunteers are expected to use their cellphone for Peace Corps-related purposes only and to maintain it in good condition.  
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International phone service to and from Paraguay is fairly reliable and accessible to most Volunteers. Volunteers are provided with a cellular phone and a basic calling plan. If Volunteers want to increase their minutes and/or upgrade the cellphone model, they must do so with their own living allowance. Although not all areas of the country are accessible by cellphone, most Volunteers are able to call Asunción and to receive international calls with their cellphones. Those who call you on your cellphone from the States must dial the following: 011-595-98x- <your phone number>.  
  
Most cellphones purchased in the United States will not work in Bangladesh because of the differing technology. Although cellphones capable of making and receiving international calls are available for around $600 in Dhaka (along with high monthly fees), the Peace Corps does not provide this type of phone.  
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The Peace Corps office, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, has access to a direct phone line between Asunción and Washington, D.C. This line is mainly for conducting official business with Peace Corps headquarters; however, it is available for Volunteer use after office hours during the week, as well as on weekends and holidays. Volunteers can place direct calls to the Washington area at no charge, while calls to all other areas are billed at the long-distance rate from Washington. Use of this line is on a first-come, first-served basis. To utilize this service, Volunteers must have a calling card.  
  
====Computer, Internet, and E-Mail Access====  
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====Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ====
  
E-mail access in Bangladesh is growing rapidly, though it is still not available in all towns. More and more cybercafes are springing up in Dhaka and other major metropolitan areas, and there are private e-mail services in some of the larger district cities and towns. Charges asd sdawe rwq for Internet and e-mail access usually run less than $1 an hour, depending on how luxurious the cybercafe is. Some places charge a flat rate for sending a message and another rate for receiving messages. If you do not already have an e-mail account that you can access overseas, you may want to get one before you come to Bangladesh.  
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Paraguay is hardly at the forefront of the ―e-revolution,‖ but Volunteers increasingly are able to rely on the Internet to communicate with family and friends in the United States. There are several Internet cafes in Asunción, and cafes are opening with increasing frequency even in rural towns. There are also computers with Internet access available for trainee and Volunteer use in the Peace Corps office. Many Volunteers acquire free email accounts and use these computers to send and receive email while they are in Asunción on official business. Trainees and Volunteers also use the library's computers for work-related matters. Trainees and Volunteers are assigned individual user accounts, which enable them to access the computer, Internet, etc.; these accounts are non-transferrable. Please note that use of PC computers is restricted to Volunteers and trainees. The office now has "hotspots" throughout the complex to which PCVs can connect. Volunteers are also able to buy a portable modem for use with their personal laptop. This cost will be deducted from the Volunteers‘ monthly living stipend. Many Volunteers find that bringing a laptop is useful to them for filling out their trimester reports for Peace Corps, watching movies, and accessing the Internet. However, do keep in mind that there is always the risk that these computers may get lost, stolen or damaged here in Paraguay.  
  
An amazing accomplishment of Bangladesh is the widespread degree of electrification in rural areas. When driving in the countryside, you will see simple mud-brick and bamboo-mat houses along the road with an electrical box attached to the outside wall. Because of the ready availability of electricity, most Volunteers in Bangladesh enjoy the convenience of electric lights and fans. If you have a laptop, feel free to bring it with you. Although you will initially live with a host family whose housing may be very basic, it should be possible to set up a laptop computer if you move into your own apartment.
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===Housing and Site Location ===
  
Although the heat, humidity, and dust could damage it, you will probably be very happy to have a laptop with you for typing letters, lesson plans, etc. While you may not have room for a printer, you can buy disks locally and take them somewhere to have your materials printed out for a modest charge. If you choose to bring a laptop, we strongly recommend that you insure it.
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Most Volunteers live and work in rural areas, but more are being assigned to work in urban centers in response to the recent increase in urban migration. The latest census shows that more than half of the population lives in larger towns or cities. Your Volunteer assignment description should indicate whether your project site is likely to be urban or rural. All Volunteers spend some time in Asunción because it is the location of the Peace Corps office, as well as the site of conferences and some in-service trainings.  
  
===Housing and Site Location===
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About 80 percent of Volunteers live in small towns or villages with fewer than 5,000 people, and some of these campo (countryside) sites have fewer than 200 inhabitants. Most (but not all) have electricity, as the country has increased the availability of electricity from 24 percent of Paraguay’s 3 million people in 1978 to more than 60 percent of the current population of about 5.8 million. Generally, streets in the campo towns are unpaved, and there is no running water or indoor toilets. Few people in these towns have traveled outside Paraguay, and many have never even been to Asunción. The only people with cars are likely to be the doctor, the priest, and a few businesspeople, government officials, and ranchers. Horses, motorcycles, and oxcarts make up the majority of local traffic, while children play freely alongside roaming cows, pigs, and chickens.
  
During pre-service training and for the first three months at site, Volunteers live with host families to develop Bangla language skills, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Bangladeshi culture, and facilitate integration in the community. Following this initial three-month period, Volunteers may choose to continue living with their host family or seek other accommodations. Volunteers generally find modest apartments in their communities, which usually have electricity and running water. Host family accommodations are reviewed and approved in advance by Peace Corps staff. All housing selected by Volunteers must also be approved by the Peace Corps/Bangladesh office.  
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For both rural and urban Volunteers, housing in Paraguay is basic. All Volunteers are required to live with a Paraguayan family during their initial two months of service. Some Volunteers then choose to live alone in one- or two-room wood or brick homes; others choose to live with a Paraguayan family for their entire two years of service. Peace Corps/ Paraguay strongly recommends that Volunteers, especially single women, consider this option. Living with a family not only helps with community integration, but also decreases personal security risks. If you choose to live with a family, the furniture will be adequate and functional, but probably not overly comfortable. If you choose to live on your own, you will likely need to furnish the place yourself.  
  
The communities where Volunteers live and work are identified by Peace Corps staff in conjunction with the host institutions. Peace Corps/Bangladesh staff visit and evaluate all sites for safety and suitability. Around the middle of pre-service training, each Volunteer is assigned a site according to the “best fit” between the individual and the site. Volunteers have the option of being posted with another Volunteer—provided the request is mutual—or being posted by themselves. In training, you will develop some idea of where you would like to be posted, and Volunteer preference is taken into account.  
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Volunteers who live in the capital or other large cities will have easier access to services such as running water, electricity, telephones, public transportation, and the Internet. They will also find many of the same shopping and entertainment amenities found in similar-size cities in the United States.  
  
Before you are sworn in as a Volunteer, you will spend two to three days at your assigned post, gaining some knowledge of the community in which you will live and of the work that you will do. This is an excellent time for you to reconsider your commitment to two years of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The experience is like no other, rich and rewarding in ways that cannot be duplicated otherwise, but it does require honest consideration of your ability to cope with the stress and discomforts of living outside your culture and working in an environment that is probably very different from what you are used to.
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
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As a Volunteer, you will receive a living allowance that enables you to maintain a modest but safe and adequate lifestyle. While the living allowance is calculated to enable you to live at the same standard as your Paraguayan neighbors, the Peace Corps requires that Volunteer housing meet minimal standards for security and that Volunteers have the resources to maintain a healthy diet and respectable lifestyle. Living allowances are reviewed once a year to ensure that they are sufficient to meet basic needs, and they are adjusted by the Peace Corps if necessary.
  
You will receive a monthly living allowance that permits you to live modestly in Bangladesh. The expectation is that you will live at the same standard as your Bangladeshi counterparts, but without endangering your health or safety. The living allowance is calculated to cover costs for housing, utilities, food, clothing, toiletries, household supplies, transportation to and from work, locally available recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses such as postage, film, and reading materials. In Bangladesh, Volunteers receive a small additional allowance to purchase a couple of outfits made in the local style of dress.  
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You will receive three additional allowances: a monthly vacation allowance (along with two days of vacation for each month of service); a one-time settling-in allowance to cover the initial expenses of furnishing a house or room and purchasing basic supplies; and an allowance set aside by the U.S. government of $275 for each month of service. This readjustment allowance, which is available upon completion of service, permits returning Volunteers to resettle in the United States without undue financial burden.  
  
===Food and Diet===
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While Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the Paraguayans in their communities and are encouraged to make do with the allowances provided by the Peace Corps, some Volunteers bring additional money or credit cards for extraordinary expenses or for travel during vacations. The Peace Corps strongly recommends that cash be held in the form of traveler checks to prevent loss or theft; these checks may be cashed at "MaxiCambios." The ATMs that are increasingly available in Asunción and other large cities accept ATM cards from most U.S. financial institutions, including Citibank. Peace Corps will safeguard traveler‘s checks for Volunteers in the office. Cash will not be safeguarded, nor will PCVs be able to deposit it into their Peace Corps bank accounts. Volunteers are unable to open personal bank accounts in Paraguay due to local banking rules. Keep this in mind should you decide to bring cash, as Peace Corps/Paraguay strongly discourages Volunteers from bringing large amounts of cash. 
  
The food in Bangladesh is similar to that served in Indian restaurants in the United States. The standard diet is rice with spiced lentils (dal) and fish, meat, or vegetable curry. The staple food is rice, and low- to middle-income families eat rice three times a day. Wheat is not part of the traditional diet but is becoming more and more popular. It is used in delicious and satisfying unleavened breads (e.g., chapati, nan, roti, etc.) and snacks. Some Volunteers find it hard to adapt to what they consider excessive oil and fried foods in the Bangladeshi diet.
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===Food and Diet ===
  
The availability of fruit and vegetables varies according to the area and the season. The winter provides a good variety of fresh vegetables, whereas the best season for fruit (including mangoes, pineapples, and papayas) is the summer. Bananas are plentiful for most of the year.  
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Paraguayans tend to eat more simple meals than people do in the United States. Dietary habits and the lack of agricultural diversity often limit meals to beans, rice, noodles, meat (when available), corn, onions, tomatoes, and manioc. Manioc or ''mandioca'' (more commonly known in other countries as yucca or cassava) is the staple food in rural Paraguay and is as ubiquitous at the table as bread is in other countries. Paraguayan food is not spicy and is quite different from Mexican food (for instance, in Paraguay, a tortilla is a kind of fritter). Most Paraguayans are exceptionally generous and will insist on sharing their food, no matter how little they have.  
  
Volunteers usually cook for themselves once they are settled into their new home, but there are plenty of ready-made foods available for those who are not kitchen inclined. Tasty, filling prepared foods include samosas (meat or vegetables fried in a triangular pastry), shingaras (potato and vegetables in pastry), and many kinds of mishti (small, cakelike sweets that are sometimes served with a sweet sauce). Some Volunteers are able to eat in a communal setting at their work site.  
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Volunteers who choose to maintain a vegetarian diet are able to do so with varying degrees of difficulty, as it is a challenge not only to find the variety of foods necessary to remain healthy but to get Paraguayans to understand such a decision. A vegetarian diet is much easier to follow if one incorporates eggs and dairy products, and some Volunteers choose to add fish and chicken.  
  
Cleanliness in food preparation is always an issue. Fresh fruits and vegetables should not be eaten unless peeled first or soaked in a bleach or iodine solution, and cooked food should always be eaten hot. This issue will be addressed more thoroughly in pre-service training.
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===Transportation ===
  
Vegetarians enjoy plenty of choices if they cook for themselves. Dried beans, canned beans, and tofu are available in  
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Most Volunteers live in communities served by a simple dirt road, which may or may not be close to a paved road. Inexpensive bus service is available to almost all communities, although heavy rain can unexpectedly close dirt roads to bus traffic for an unpredictable length of time. While a community may not be a great distance from the capital in miles, getting there may involve a trip of several hours because of the condition of unpaved roads. You will receive assistance in identifying alternative forms of transportation (i.e., a private vehicle, taxi, or truck) from your site in the event of an emergency. Volunteers may, upon request, be issued a mountain bicycle and helmet.
  
Dhaka, eggs are always available, and various kinds of processed cheese that does not have to be refrigerated can be found. If you are invited to eat at someone’s home, you may face the difficulty of having to decline what is offered to you, as fish and meat are part of most people’s diet. However, if you explain your diet before you arrive, your hosts may be able to cater to your needs. In Bangladesh, being a vegetarian often means that one eats fish or chicken, so it is advisable to be very explicit about your dietary needs. In addition, the concept of veganism is not familiar to the vast majority of
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Peace Corps/Paraguay, as mandated by Peace Corps/Washington, prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding as a passenger on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Moreover, Volunteers are not allowed to own or drive private vehicles in Paraguay. These prohibitions are in response to serious safety concerns, and violation of the policy will result in the administrative separation of the Volunteer from Peace Corps service.
  
Bangladeshis. Vegan Volunteers should be prepared to educate their host families about their dietary preferences and to make adjustments to their diet if necessary.
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===Geography and Climate ===
  
Alcohol is illegal in Bangladesh and virtually unavailable. What little alcohol is available is brewed or distilled illegally and sold on the black market. There are regular incidents in Bangladesh of people dying of poisoning from drinking bad alcohol. Do not even think about trying it.  
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Unlike more tropical countries, Paraguay does have distinct seasons. Summer (November through March) is long, hot, and humid, with temperatures on occasion reaching as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Winter (June through mid-September) is short and mild, with periods of cold weather (down to 30 F) and occasional frosts. Because of the high humidity and lack of indoor heating, cold winter days may seem more severe than they actually are. The short spring and autumn seasons usually are mild and balmy.  
  
In Bangladesh, as in many cultures, a distinction is made between the use of the left and right hands. The left hand is used for cleaning one’s body after using the toilet and is therefore considered unclean. Writing with the left hand is not a problem, but food must not be touched with the left hand.  
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Because of Paraguay‘s southern latitudes, the length of daylight also differs according to the season. In the winter, the sun may set by 5 p.m. In October, the country goes on Daylight Savings Time, and by mid-December it is light outside until nearly 8:30 p.m. Paraguayans adjust their social and business calendars according to these differences. In the winter, activities are compressed, and people are in bed by 10 p.m.; however, in the summer, people may not even eat dinner until after 10 p.m. At the same time, activities slow down remarkably during the summer, especially in rural areas, and a long midday siesta divides the workday into early morning and late afternoon periods.  
  
Since Bangladeshis generally eat using their fingers, you should always use your right hand to eat even if you are left-handed. There is no need to worry about making a mess, as everybody else does.  
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In the eastern part of the country, there is no marked rainy or dry season, and there is apt to be abundant rain throughout the year. Summer rains tend to be short and intense, while winter rains tend to be longer and lighter. There are months with little or no rain and months when it rains nearly every day.  
  
It is also considered offensive to offer things or make gestures with your left hand. Similarly, it is important to try to use your right hand to accept letters, pass papers in the workplace, pay for things, etc. The only exception to this is at mealtimes, when food is passed with the left hand as the right hand is normally covered with rice and dal. In pre-service training, we will discuss strategies for left-handed Volunteers to be culturally sensitive in a right-handed culture.
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===Social Activities ===
  
An incidental note about using one’s hands incorrectly: The thumbs-up and A-OK gestures that are common in the United States are considered obscene in Bangladesh. Although they are seen often enough in American films and advertising to have become somewhat less offensive in Dhaka, outside the capital city, and especially in rural settings, these gestures should be avoided.  
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Recreation in smaller towns often centers on the family, with an occasional dance, soccer game, or horse race to attend. In the evening, many families gather with friends for volleyball games. The losers pay for drinks, which might be soft drinks (''gaseosas'') or beer. People frequently sit in clusters (often limited to one gender or age group) to drink the ubiquitous yerba mate, a common local drink made from the leaves of a shrub native to the region, either cold (''tereré'') or hot (''mate'') in the early morning or wintertime. During the hot summer, an important social activity is likely to be bathing in the local stream (''arroyo''). The electrification of the countryside has increased the popularity of boom boxes, TVs, DVDs, etc. Volunteers often participate in organized groups, such as ecology clubs or youth groups that meet occasionally for selected activities.  
  
===Transportation===
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In Asunción and larger towns, there is a wider variety of options for social activities, including movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants, and sporting events. Volunteers usually take advantage of their rare weekends in the capital to see the latest movies and enjoy some night life. Volunteers also have access to the swimming pool at the U.S. Embassy while in Asunción.
  
Bicycle rickshaws are the most common form of transport for small distances. The rickshaws have three wheels, with a sofa-like seat for two behind the driver and a hood that can be put up for rain. A rickshaw ride can be quite rickety, so passengers often have to brace themselves with hands or feet. Riding in a rickshaw on an open road with a cool wind in your face can be very pleasant, but riding in one in Dhaka during rush hour is a completely different experience. Many rickshaws have poor brakes and can be stopped only by running into the back of a rickshaw in front. Auto rickshaws, also called “baby taxis,” are motor-driven three-wheelers whose back seat can hold up to three people. (One or two extra people sometimes sit next to the driver when there are no police around.) These taxis are convenient, but traveling in them can be a nightmare, as the drivers often ignore traffic rules and collisions are frequent. “Tempos” are taxis that hold 10 to 20 people and follow set routes for a low fee. (In rural areas you might find yourself sharing them with chickens,goats, or calves.) Rickshaw safety will be discussed during training.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
  
Local buses can be irritatingly slow. Long-distance buses tend to travel at unsafe speeds, but companies are beginning to impose penalties on drivers who arrive earlier than their scheduled time. Some long-distance buses have modern coaches with air conditioning, offering relatively comfortable travel. Accidents and crime are more frequent during overnight bus travel, however, so Volunteers are prohibited from traveling at night.  
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Cleanliness and a neat personal appearance are very important to Paraguayans, as they are for Volunteers who represent the Peace Corps and the United States. You must dress appropriately when meeting with government or other officials. '''Shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops are inappropriate except around your home or for recreational activities. Whether you work in a school or office setting, in rural or urban Paraguay, proper attire will help establish your professional credibility. It also reflects your respect for the customs and lifestyle of the people with whom you are living and working.'''
  
Train travel is usually a pleasant experience. Although local trains tend to be overcrowded, long-distance trains are comfortable and reliable. First-class, air-conditioned sleeping compartments are available on some routes, and most trains have fans. Rail service to the west is complicated by numerous river crossings; on these routes, travelers have to get off the train and onto a ferry to rejoin the railway line on the other side.  
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Although affluent Paraguayans in Asunción may be influenced by international trends and fashions, most Paraguayans view shoulder-length hair, dreadlocks, ponytails, tattoos, and earrings on men with suspicion. It is not unusual for a person to be labeled a ''drogadicto'' (drug addict) based on appearance alone. Therefore, Volunteers are not permitted to have facial piercings (nose, tongue, and eyebrow). Tattoos for both men and women should remain covered until Volunteers have been at their sites for at least six months and can realistically judge the degree to which these would be accepted by community members. Female Volunteers should always wear bras outside their homes. Male Volunteers with beards must keep them well-trimmed and clean. Nevertheless, we ask that men arrive in Paraguay clean shaven for their official identification photo.  
  
Travel to the southwest may mean taking a short ferry trip across a small river or up to three hours for a larger river. Waiting time for getting onto a ferry varies enormously, the current record being 15 hours. Because ferries commonly have accidents, they present a real safety risk. You will learn about traveling safely on water during pre-service training.  Another means of travel to the southwest is via launches.  
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If you do not cut your hair and remove body rings before you arrive in Paraguay, you will be asked to do so before you are placed with a host family during training. Adherence to these rules is considered to be a sign of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, or if you view this as an unacceptable sacrifice, you should re-evaluate your decision to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. If you decide to conform to the country‘s norms, you will be amply rewarded by the great adventure and lasting friendships that await you.  
  
These boats vary in quality but can be very relaxing, and it is worth booking your trip in advance to travel on one of the better ones. The Rocket, a favorite, is a modern ship with a television in the main lounge, a dining hall, and other amenities. Launches can be fogbound during the winter.
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===Personal Safety ===
  
Airplane travel is relatively cheap. A 20-minute flight from Dhaka to Rajshahi is much more appealing than an eight-hour ordeal by bus and ferry, but flights are often delayed. Walking is by far the safest method of travel in Bangladesh, though the concept of walking for pleasure is not widely understood (probably because it is too hot and muggy most of the year).  
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More detailed information about the Peace Corps‘ approach to safety is contained in the ―Health Care and Safety‖ chapter, 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 Paraguay Volunteers complete their two years of service without incident. 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 Paraguay. Using these tools, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.  
  
When walking, one should never assume that traffic will come from only one direction, even on one side of a divided roadway.  
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Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. We encourage Volunteers and families to look at our safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at [www.peacecorps.gov/safety].  
  
===Social Activities===
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Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and Volunteer safety. There is a section titled Safety and Security in Depth. Among topics addressed are the risks of serving as a Volunteer, posts‘ safety support systems, and emergency planning and communications.
  
In Bangladesh, most social activities center on the home or cultural events such as theater, music, and dance. Because Bangla became the nation’s official language after independence, English has been de-emphasized in education for the past 30 years and many educated Bangladeshis speak limited English. The number and quality of friendships you develop, therefore, will depend on your own efforts to develop language skills that help you traverse the Bangla-English divide.
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
  
However, this does not mean Bangladeshis are not eager to host English-speaking guests, and as you get to know the people in your town, you are likely to be invited to their homes often. If the hospitality becomes a burden, you will have to practice the same sensitivity you would practice in the United States in turning down social invitations. Participating in local cultural activities is a good way to meet people and to learn more about the country. Such events take place mostly in Dhaka, but there are also occasional concerts by touring professionals and amateur musicians and various groups performing traditional drama in some of the district centers.  
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Volunteers have a variety of reasons for joining the Peace Corps, but high on the list must be the desire to help others. Most Volunteers bring a high degree of motivation and enthusiasm to their service. These are not lost in serving others, but are necessarily tempered by the process of learning about the daily realities of a different culture. So while Volunteers should not expect to ―change the world,‖ they can look forward to making a tangible impact.  
  
Social life is relatively quiet in smaller towns and villages, and weddings and religious or national holidays are common occasions for celebration. As a Volunteer, you may be invited to a wedding of people you barely know. Going out to eat is not common, but most midsize towns have at least one Chinese-style restaurant. Many towns also have cinemas that show films in Bangla and Hindi. Larger towns have more variety in cinemas and restaurants, and Dhaka boasts many high-quality restaurants that serve Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Italian food.  
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Being a Volunteer requires adjusting to alternative ways of thinking, living, and working. Such adjustments are neither simple nor painless. The people you work with may have strong feelings of pride and nationalism, so your own enthusiasm for change, however well intended, may be misunderstood. You will constantly need to take into consideration the emotions, needs, traditions, institutions, and way of life of the people you work with.  
  
Badminton, cricket, soccer, and volleyball are popular sports in Bangladesh, and many Volunteers posted in rural areas participate. There are also tennis and squash courts in Dhaka and a few other places. Note that because Bengali women traditionally do not participate in sports, it is much more difficult for women than for men to engage in sports or other kinds of physical activity outside of the expatriate clubs in Dhaka. This may prove frustrating to some female Volunteers.  
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Your satisfaction will come from your commitment to learning and the flexibility you possess to deal with new values and experiences. After living and working with the people of another culture, Volunteers often develop strong ties that are reflected in strong emotions. Intense feelings of desperation, satisfaction, anger, happiness, anxiety, and peace of mind will crop up over and over. These feelings are the heart of the Volunteer experience. But in the end, it is a rare Volunteer who does not feel that the experience was one of the most important in his or her life.  
  
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
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[[Category:Paraguay]]
 
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In trying to fit into the local culture, you will inevitably retain your own cultural identity, but there are behaviors you can adopt that will allow you to assimilate more easily and feel more comfortable in social and professional situations. A professional demeanor is very important. Though you will be in Bangladesh as a Volunteer with the Peace Corps, you will be working as a representative of a Bangladeshi agency or organization and will be expected to dress and behave accordingly.
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Inappropriate dress may be construed as a sign of disrespect for one’s colleagues and can reflect badly not only on you but on the Peace Corps as an assistance organization. However, we can only provide you with guidelines; when you arrive in Bangladesh, you will make your own observations that will give these guidelines meaning.
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Dressing modestly is essential for female Volunteers in Bangladesh. Many Western women who live outside of Dhaka choose to wear local fashions, but if you wear Western clothes, they should be loose fitting, cover your upper arms, and cover your legs down to the ankles. Slips must be worn with see-through fabrics, and tight T-shirts, sleeveless tops, or low-cut garments will attract unwelcome attention. Shorts are inappropriate except when you are alone in your home or at an expatriate facility in Dhaka. Traditional dress for
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Bangladeshi women consists of either a shalwar kameez (for younger, unmarried women) or a sari (for married women), but these distinctions do not apply so rigidly to Western women. A shalwar kameez consists of long, baggy pants worn with a loose-fitting tunic and a long scarf (orna) draped around the front to cover one’s chest. A wide variety of shalwar kameez outfits are available for 500 taka (about $10). In
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Dhaka, because of the their popularity among Western women, larger sizes are being made for sale off the rack, but you can also have them made to order by local tailors (bring a favorite pair of pants for copying by the tailor to get the right fit). Women assigned to rural areas often wear saris, which require a petticoat and blouse, available locally in all colors and sizes for about 100 taka (about $1.75). A basic sari costs about 300 taka ($5), but one made of hand-painted or embroidered silk could cost several thousand taka.
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Male professionals wear either Western-style clothing or, especially for formal occasions (including going to a mosque), a punjabi, which consists of baggy pants (usually white) worn with a tunic. Most male Volunteers wear lightweight cotton pants and shirts, both of which can be tailored locally for less than it would cost to buy the same clothes in the United States. (Tailored pants cost about $8 or $9 and shirts cost about $4 or $5.) Shorts are not appropriate for male Volunteers except when participating in sports. Most Bangladeshi men who do manual labor wear a lungi, a thin, ankle-length skirt that is wrapped around the waist and can be pulled up to resemble shorts. Some male Volunteers wear lungis around the house, but they are not appropriate at work or when out in public. Sandals are the most common footwear for both men and women, and women often wear earrings, nose studs, and bangles.
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A Volunteer is often the only American in a Bangladeshi community. Hence, in addition to the responsibility for their conduct as individuals, Volunteers, whom host country citizens
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inevitably see as examples of American culture and customs, have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner reflecting credit on the Peace Corps and their country. At the same time, Volunteers are expected to show respect for Bangladesh’s culture and customs.
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===Personal Safety===
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More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety chapter, 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. Most 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 Bangladesh 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 Bangladesh. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
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[[Category:Bangladesh]]
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Latest revision as of 12:33, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

Communications[edit]

Mail[edit]

Your mailing address in Paraguay will be:

“Your Name,” PCT [for trainee] or PCV [for Volunteer]
Cuerpo de Paz
162 Chaco Boreal c/Mcal. López
Asunción 1580, Paraguay
South America


Compared with mail in many developing countries, mail between the United States and Paraguay is relatively dependable, albeit slow in arriving. Letters normally take two to three weeks to reach Paraguay; surface mail can take months. Packages and other types of correspondence are delayed much longer and may arrive here in a time lapse which frequently varies from several weeks to several months.

As a result of the departure of two major airlines, only regional carriers now serve Paraguay with smaller aircraft, and cargo space for mail is extremely limited. Packages and other types of correspondence are being delayed for weeks and even months at intermediate points, such as Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, where they await eventual delivery to Paraguay by other means of transport.

All packages from overseas pass through the Paraguayan International Package Center, where postal and customs inspectors determine which packages will be sent directly to the Peace Corps office for distribution and which will be retained for further inspection. Any package—regardless of content, weight, type of packing material, or religious slogans—may be held at the International Package Center (also known as "the package place" or the "package center"). In this case, the Volunteer will receive a notice in his/her mailbox indicating that the package is being retained. PCVs who receive this notification must collect their parcel/s personally; packages must be retrieved within one month of the date on which the notification is prepared.

Another option for sending packages to Paraguay is by courier services such as DHL, FEDEX, and UPS. Although these services are more expensive, packages do arrive here in 3-5 days. Another point in favor is that packages sent through courier services do NOT go through the Paraguay Postal Service. U.S. Express Mail works in the same way.

Packages with a declared value—the value claimed on the green sticker affixed to the package—in excess of $100 are usually sent to customs. If the package is sent to customs, the PCV will be assessed a tax based on the type of merchandise and its declared value. Volunteers whose package/s is/are sent to customs will be advised to this effect. Peace Corps/Paraguay‘s customs agent will do the leg- and paperwork to process and retrieve the parcel. The Volunteer is responsible for paying any fees and taxes assessed, as well as the customs agent‘s fees. Note: Packages which arrive through a courier may also be sent to customs.

We recommend that you establish a regular pattern of writing or emailing friends and relatives in the United States, as they may become concerned if they do not hear from you for an extended period of time. You may want to tell them, however, that once Volunteers move to their sites and become more involved in their projects, their correspondence habits often change.

Some Volunteers and their families number their letters in sequence to try to keep track of how many have been sent and received. This is a good way to know whether someone is just too busy to write or if letters are not arriving for some other reason.

Peace Corps regulations prohibit Volunteers from accepting gifts of property, money, or voluntary services directly. Such gifts can cause confusion about the role of the Volunteer, who might be perceived as a facilitator of goods and funding, rather than a person who is working to build a community‘s capacity to identify local resources. You are not permitted to solicit materials or funds for your community during your first six months at site so that you have time to engage the community in project identification. To ensure that any request for funding or donations is appropriate for your project and your community, you must have prior authorization from your program director and the country director.

The Peace Corps has a mechanism in place for you and the communities you work with to access U.S. private-sector funds. The Peace Corps Partnership Program, administered by the Office of Private Sector Initiatives, can help you obtain financial support from corporations, foundations, civic groups, individuals, faith-based groups, and schools for projects approved by the country director. To learn more about the Partnership Program, call 800-424-8580 (ext. 2170), email pcpp@peacecorps.gov.

Telephones[edit]

International phone service to and from Paraguay is fairly reliable and accessible to most Volunteers. Volunteers are provided with a cellular phone and a basic calling plan. If Volunteers want to increase their minutes and/or upgrade the cellphone model, they must do so with their own living allowance. Although not all areas of the country are accessible by cellphone, most Volunteers are able to call Asunción and to receive international calls with their cellphones. Those who call you on your cellphone from the States must dial the following: 011-595-98x- <your phone number>.

The Peace Corps office, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, has access to a direct phone line between Asunción and Washington, D.C. This line is mainly for conducting official business with Peace Corps headquarters; however, it is available for Volunteer use after office hours during the week, as well as on weekends and holidays. Volunteers can place direct calls to the Washington area at no charge, while calls to all other areas are billed at the long-distance rate from Washington. Use of this line is on a first-come, first-served basis. To utilize this service, Volunteers must have a calling card.

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access[edit]

Paraguay is hardly at the forefront of the ―e-revolution,‖ but Volunteers increasingly are able to rely on the Internet to communicate with family and friends in the United States. There are several Internet cafes in Asunción, and cafes are opening with increasing frequency even in rural towns. There are also computers with Internet access available for trainee and Volunteer use in the Peace Corps office. Many Volunteers acquire free email accounts and use these computers to send and receive email while they are in Asunción on official business. Trainees and Volunteers also use the library's computers for work-related matters. Trainees and Volunteers are assigned individual user accounts, which enable them to access the computer, Internet, etc.; these accounts are non-transferrable. Please note that use of PC computers is restricted to Volunteers and trainees. The office now has "hotspots" throughout the complex to which PCVs can connect. Volunteers are also able to buy a portable modem for use with their personal laptop. This cost will be deducted from the Volunteers‘ monthly living stipend. Many Volunteers find that bringing a laptop is useful to them for filling out their trimester reports for Peace Corps, watching movies, and accessing the Internet. However, do keep in mind that there is always the risk that these computers may get lost, stolen or damaged here in Paraguay.

Housing and Site Location[edit]

Most Volunteers live and work in rural areas, but more are being assigned to work in urban centers in response to the recent increase in urban migration. The latest census shows that more than half of the population lives in larger towns or cities. Your Volunteer assignment description should indicate whether your project site is likely to be urban or rural. All Volunteers spend some time in Asunción because it is the location of the Peace Corps office, as well as the site of conferences and some in-service trainings.

About 80 percent of Volunteers live in small towns or villages with fewer than 5,000 people, and some of these campo (countryside) sites have fewer than 200 inhabitants. Most (but not all) have electricity, as the country has increased the availability of electricity from 24 percent of Paraguay’s 3 million people in 1978 to more than 60 percent of the current population of about 5.8 million. Generally, streets in the campo towns are unpaved, and there is no running water or indoor toilets. Few people in these towns have traveled outside Paraguay, and many have never even been to Asunción. The only people with cars are likely to be the doctor, the priest, and a few businesspeople, government officials, and ranchers. Horses, motorcycles, and oxcarts make up the majority of local traffic, while children play freely alongside roaming cows, pigs, and chickens.

For both rural and urban Volunteers, housing in Paraguay is basic. All Volunteers are required to live with a Paraguayan family during their initial two months of service. Some Volunteers then choose to live alone in one- or two-room wood or brick homes; others choose to live with a Paraguayan family for their entire two years of service. Peace Corps/ Paraguay strongly recommends that Volunteers, especially single women, consider this option. Living with a family not only helps with community integration, but also decreases personal security risks. If you choose to live with a family, the furniture will be adequate and functional, but probably not overly comfortable. If you choose to live on your own, you will likely need to furnish the place yourself.

Volunteers who live in the capital or other large cities will have easier access to services such as running water, electricity, telephones, public transportation, and the Internet. They will also find many of the same shopping and entertainment amenities found in similar-size cities in the United States.

Living Allowance and Money Management[edit]

As a Volunteer, you will receive a living allowance that enables you to maintain a modest but safe and adequate lifestyle. While the living allowance is calculated to enable you to live at the same standard as your Paraguayan neighbors, the Peace Corps requires that Volunteer housing meet minimal standards for security and that Volunteers have the resources to maintain a healthy diet and respectable lifestyle. Living allowances are reviewed once a year to ensure that they are sufficient to meet basic needs, and they are adjusted by the Peace Corps if necessary.

You will receive three additional allowances: a monthly vacation allowance (along with two days of vacation for each month of service); a one-time settling-in allowance to cover the initial expenses of furnishing a house or room and purchasing basic supplies; and an allowance set aside by the U.S. government of $275 for each month of service. This readjustment allowance, which is available upon completion of service, permits returning Volunteers to resettle in the United States without undue financial burden.

While Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the Paraguayans in their communities and are encouraged to make do with the allowances provided by the Peace Corps, some Volunteers bring additional money or credit cards for extraordinary expenses or for travel during vacations. The Peace Corps strongly recommends that cash be held in the form of traveler checks to prevent loss or theft; these checks may be cashed at "MaxiCambios." The ATMs that are increasingly available in Asunción and other large cities accept ATM cards from most U.S. financial institutions, including Citibank. Peace Corps will safeguard traveler‘s checks for Volunteers in the office. Cash will not be safeguarded, nor will PCVs be able to deposit it into their Peace Corps bank accounts. Volunteers are unable to open personal bank accounts in Paraguay due to local banking rules. Keep this in mind should you decide to bring cash, as Peace Corps/Paraguay strongly discourages Volunteers from bringing large amounts of cash.

Food and Diet[edit]

Paraguayans tend to eat more simple meals than people do in the United States. Dietary habits and the lack of agricultural diversity often limit meals to beans, rice, noodles, meat (when available), corn, onions, tomatoes, and manioc. Manioc or mandioca (more commonly known in other countries as yucca or cassava) is the staple food in rural Paraguay and is as ubiquitous at the table as bread is in other countries. Paraguayan food is not spicy and is quite different from Mexican food (for instance, in Paraguay, a tortilla is a kind of fritter). Most Paraguayans are exceptionally generous and will insist on sharing their food, no matter how little they have.

Volunteers who choose to maintain a vegetarian diet are able to do so with varying degrees of difficulty, as it is a challenge not only to find the variety of foods necessary to remain healthy but to get Paraguayans to understand such a decision. A vegetarian diet is much easier to follow if one incorporates eggs and dairy products, and some Volunteers choose to add fish and chicken.

Transportation[edit]

Most Volunteers live in communities served by a simple dirt road, which may or may not be close to a paved road. Inexpensive bus service is available to almost all communities, although heavy rain can unexpectedly close dirt roads to bus traffic for an unpredictable length of time. While a community may not be a great distance from the capital in miles, getting there may involve a trip of several hours because of the condition of unpaved roads. You will receive assistance in identifying alternative forms of transportation (i.e., a private vehicle, taxi, or truck) from your site in the event of an emergency. Volunteers may, upon request, be issued a mountain bicycle and helmet.

Peace Corps/Paraguay, as mandated by Peace Corps/Washington, prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding as a passenger on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Moreover, Volunteers are not allowed to own or drive private vehicles in Paraguay. These prohibitions are in response to serious safety concerns, and violation of the policy will result in the administrative separation of the Volunteer from Peace Corps service.

Geography and Climate[edit]

Unlike more tropical countries, Paraguay does have distinct seasons. Summer (November through March) is long, hot, and humid, with temperatures on occasion reaching as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Winter (June through mid-September) is short and mild, with periods of cold weather (down to 30 F) and occasional frosts. Because of the high humidity and lack of indoor heating, cold winter days may seem more severe than they actually are. The short spring and autumn seasons usually are mild and balmy.

Because of Paraguay‘s southern latitudes, the length of daylight also differs according to the season. In the winter, the sun may set by 5 p.m. In October, the country goes on Daylight Savings Time, and by mid-December it is light outside until nearly 8:30 p.m. Paraguayans adjust their social and business calendars according to these differences. In the winter, activities are compressed, and people are in bed by 10 p.m.; however, in the summer, people may not even eat dinner until after 10 p.m. At the same time, activities slow down remarkably during the summer, especially in rural areas, and a long midday siesta divides the workday into early morning and late afternoon periods.

In the eastern part of the country, there is no marked rainy or dry season, and there is apt to be abundant rain throughout the year. Summer rains tend to be short and intense, while winter rains tend to be longer and lighter. There are months with little or no rain and months when it rains nearly every day.

Social Activities[edit]

Recreation in smaller towns often centers on the family, with an occasional dance, soccer game, or horse race to attend. In the evening, many families gather with friends for volleyball games. The losers pay for drinks, which might be soft drinks (gaseosas) or beer. People frequently sit in clusters (often limited to one gender or age group) to drink the ubiquitous yerba mate, a common local drink made from the leaves of a shrub native to the region, either cold (tereré) or hot (mate) in the early morning or wintertime. During the hot summer, an important social activity is likely to be bathing in the local stream (arroyo). The electrification of the countryside has increased the popularity of boom boxes, TVs, DVDs, etc. Volunteers often participate in organized groups, such as ecology clubs or youth groups that meet occasionally for selected activities.

In Asunción and larger towns, there is a wider variety of options for social activities, including movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants, and sporting events. Volunteers usually take advantage of their rare weekends in the capital to see the latest movies and enjoy some night life. Volunteers also have access to the swimming pool at the U.S. Embassy while in Asunción.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior[edit]

Cleanliness and a neat personal appearance are very important to Paraguayans, as they are for Volunteers who represent the Peace Corps and the United States. You must dress appropriately when meeting with government or other officials. Shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops are inappropriate except around your home or for recreational activities. Whether you work in a school or office setting, in rural or urban Paraguay, proper attire will help establish your professional credibility. It also reflects your respect for the customs and lifestyle of the people with whom you are living and working.

Although affluent Paraguayans in Asunción may be influenced by international trends and fashions, most Paraguayans view shoulder-length hair, dreadlocks, ponytails, tattoos, and earrings on men with suspicion. It is not unusual for a person to be labeled a drogadicto (drug addict) based on appearance alone. Therefore, Volunteers are not permitted to have facial piercings (nose, tongue, and eyebrow). Tattoos for both men and women should remain covered until Volunteers have been at their sites for at least six months and can realistically judge the degree to which these would be accepted by community members. Female Volunteers should always wear bras outside their homes. Male Volunteers with beards must keep them well-trimmed and clean. Nevertheless, we ask that men arrive in Paraguay clean shaven for their official identification photo.

If you do not cut your hair and remove body rings before you arrive in Paraguay, you will be asked to do so before you are placed with a host family during training. Adherence to these rules is considered to be a sign of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, or if you view this as an unacceptable sacrifice, you should re-evaluate your decision to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. If you decide to conform to the country‘s norms, you will be amply rewarded by the great adventure and lasting friendships that await you.

Personal Safety[edit]

More detailed information about the Peace Corps‘ approach to safety is contained in the ―Health Care and Safety‖ chapter, 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 Paraguay Volunteers complete their two years of service without incident. 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 Paraguay. Using these tools, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. We encourage Volunteers and families to look at our safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at [www.peacecorps.gov/safety].

Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and Volunteer safety. There is a section titled Safety and Security in Depth. Among topics addressed are the risks of serving as a Volunteer, posts‘ safety support systems, and emergency planning and communications.

Rewards and Frustrations[edit]

Volunteers have a variety of reasons for joining the Peace Corps, but high on the list must be the desire to help others. Most Volunteers bring a high degree of motivation and enthusiasm to their service. These are not lost in serving others, but are necessarily tempered by the process of learning about the daily realities of a different culture. So while Volunteers should not expect to ―change the world,‖ they can look forward to making a tangible impact.

Being a Volunteer requires adjusting to alternative ways of thinking, living, and working. Such adjustments are neither simple nor painless. The people you work with may have strong feelings of pride and nationalism, so your own enthusiasm for change, however well intended, may be misunderstood. You will constantly need to take into consideration the emotions, needs, traditions, institutions, and way of life of the people you work with.

Your satisfaction will come from your commitment to learning and the flexibility you possess to deal with new values and experiences. After living and working with the people of another culture, Volunteers often develop strong ties that are reflected in strong emotions. Intense feelings of desperation, satisfaction, anger, happiness, anxiety, and peace of mind will crop up over and over. These feelings are the heart of the Volunteer experience. But in the end, it is a rare Volunteer who does not feel that the experience was one of the most important in his or her life.