Difference between pages "Health care and safety in Uganda" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger"

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===Communications === not ture
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Uganda maintains a clinic with two part-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Uganda. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to a medical facility in the region or to the United States.
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===Mail ===
  
===Health Issues in Uganda ===
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Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you expect U.S.  standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration.  Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately, this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen).
  
Major health problems among Volunteers in Uganda are rare and are often the result of Volunteers’ not taking preventive measures to stay healthy. The most common health problems in Uganda are relatively minor ones that are also found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, adjustment disorders, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Uganda because certain environmental factors in the country raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries.  
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Mail service in Niger is relatively good compared with that in other African countries. Letters and packages mailed from the United States by air (or from Niger to America) usually take two to six weeks to arrive. Packages mailed by surface typically take six months or more, so this method is not recommended. Note that incoming packages are subject to customs duties (generally small).  
  
The most serious health concerns are malaria, HIV/AIDS, and traffic accidents. Because malaria is endemic in Uganda, taking antimalarial pills is mandated by Peace Corps. Diarrheal diseases are also common, but can be avoided by regularly washing your hands, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, and either boiling your drinking water or using the water purification tablets issued in your medical kit. You will be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, meningitis A and C, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, and rabies.
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Despite the delays, we strongly encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family members typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly. You might also suggest that family and friends number their letters for tracking purposes and write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on the envelopes. You should bring a supply of U.S. stamps for sending mail to the United States via travelers. DHL service is available in Niger, and though it is very expensive, this is the best way to mail valuable or time-sensitive items such as airplane tickets.  
  
===Helping You Stay Healthy ===
 
  
The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Uganda, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter.
 
  
During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies from your medical kit or through the medical officer. However, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any other specific medical supplies you require, as we will not order these items during training.  Please bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here and it may take several months for shipments to arrive.
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Your mailing address in Niger will be:
  
You will have physicals at midservice and at the end of your service. If you acquire a serious medical condition during your service, the medical officer in Uganda will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Uganda, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.
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Name of Trainee/Volunteer
  
===Maintaining Your Health ===
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Corps de la Paix
  
As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The old adage “An ounce of prevention …” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Uganda is to take preventive measures for the following:
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B.P. 10537
  
As mentioned above, malaria is a major health issue in Uganda. The most important step in preventing malaria and many other tropical diseases is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects. The best way to avoid insect bites is to sleep under a treated mosquito net provided by Peace Corps, wear long sleeves and long trousers whenever possible (especially when outside at night), use insect repellent, and make sure windows have some kind of screen. Since no one can entirely prevent insect bites, you must also take antimalarial pills.
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Niamey, Niger
  
Rabies is prevalent throughout Uganda, so you will receive a series of immunizations against it after you arrive. If you are exposed to an animal that is known to have or suspected of having rabies, inform the medical officer at once so that you can receive post-exposure booster shots. Be wary of all unknown animals and of behavior changes in known animals.
 
  
Many diseases that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken.  Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Uganda during pre-service training.
 
  
AIDS and other STDs are far more common in Uganda than in the United States. Abstinence is the only certain choice forpreventing infection with HIV and other STDs. You are takingrisks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use acondom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is ahost country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do notassume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STDs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.
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===Telephones ===
  
Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are
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Cellphone service is becoming increasingly more available throughout the country; many Volunteer villages have cellphone coverage, however, your relatives and friends should be prepared for significant changes in the regularity, reliability, and speed of communication you currently enjoy.  
  
available without charge from the medical officer.
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===Computers, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
  
It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for scheduled immunizations, and that you let your medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries.  
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There are increasing numbers of private telecenters and Internet cafes in larger towns. These generally work well for e-mail, but Internet access is both slow and expensive.  Volunteers can access e-mail at the Peace Corps office in Niamey and at regional Peace Corps offices, but not at the training center.  
  
===Women’s Health Information ===
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===Housing and Site Location ===
  
Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but also have programmatic ramifications. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of appropriate medical care if the Volunteer remains in-country. Given the circumstances under which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps’ medical and programmatic standards for continued service during pregnancy can be met.  
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Most agriculture, environment, and community health Volunteers live in villages of 200 to 1,000 people within a few miles of other Volunteers and roads served by public transportation. You may be anywhere from 60 to 750 miles (100 to 1,200 kilometers) from Niamey. You are likely to be one of only a handful of people—perhaps the only person—in the village with anything beyond the equivalent of a sixth-grade education. Many sites have a rural health clinic or a primary school, but some do not. Housing is provided by each village and consists of a traditional one- or two-room house of adobe brick with an adobe or thatch roof. Most Volunteer houses have a small yard surrounded by an adobe or thatch enclosure. The Peace Corps pays for the cementing of the floor of your house and bath/toilet area and provides screens for doors and windows.  
  
Feminine hygiene products are available for purchase in larger towns. The medical officer will provide Tampax or o.b. tampons on request, but sanitary pads must be purchased locally. If you require feminine hygiene products other than these, please bring a supply with you.  
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There will be no running water or electricity. You will obtain your water from a well and rely on a kerosene lamp or candles for light in the evening. Most of the year, you will sleep outside, with only a mosquito net, which the Peace Corps provides, between you and the stars. You will become adept at using a squat latrine and taking a bucket bath—pouring water over yourself from a bucket. Although it may sound like a two-year camping trip (and in some ways it is), your site will become your home. With time, you will find ways to make yourself comfortable, and soon enough, you will forget how strange some of these conditions once seemed.  
  
===Your Peace Corps Medical Kit ===
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Education Volunteers are posted in small towns of 10,000 to 100,000 people, located near clusters of rural-based Volunteers. Housing consists of a small mud brick or cement house or an apartment provided by the government of Niger.  The towns have the education infrastructure and partners you will need in your assignment. Some of the towns have Peace Corps regional offices, headed by a Volunteer regional representative. There may also be Volunteers working with international and nongovernmental organizations such as UNICEF and CARE. Most of these sites are on the main road that crosses the country from east to west.
  
The Peace Corps medical officer provides Volunteers with a medical kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.  
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Although running water and electricity are available in most towns, there may be limited hours of electricity use and frequent power failures.  
  
====Medical Kit Contents ====
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
  
Ace bandages <br>
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As a Volunteer in Niger, you will receive four types of allowances. The first is a living allowance to cover your basic living expenses. This allowance is reviewed at least once a year through a survey of Volunteer expenses to ensure that it is adequate. The living allowance is paid in local currency (CFA francs) and is intended to cover the cost of food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, transportation, reading materials, and other incidentals. Volunteers typically find that this allowance is more than adequate for maintaining their health and wellbeing, and you are therefore discouraged from supplementing the allowance with money from home. You will find that you receive more remuneration than your Nigerien counterpart or supervisor.
Adhesive tape  <br>
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First Aid & Safety Handbook  <br>
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Antacid tablets (Tums) <br>
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Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)  <br>
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Anti malarial medication  <br>
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Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)  <br>
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Band-Aids  <br>
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Butterfly closures  <br>
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Cepacol lozenges  <br>
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Condoms  <br>
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Dental floss  <br>
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Diphenhydramine HCL 25&nbsp;mg (Benadryl)  <br>
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Hydrocortisone cream  <br>
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Ibuprofen 400&nbsp;mg tabs  <br>
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Insect repellent  <br>
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Iodine tablets (for water purification)  <br>
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Lip balm (Chapstick)  <br>
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Oral rehydration salts  <br>
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Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)  <br>
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Pseudoephedrine HCL 30&nbsp;mg (Sudafed)  <br>
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Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)  <br>
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Scissors  <br>
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Sterile gauze pads  <br>
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Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)  <br>
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Tinactin (antifungal cream)  <br>
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Tylenol 325&nbsp;mg tabs  <br>
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Tweezers  <br>
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You will also receive a vacation allowance of $24 per month, paid quarterly in CFA francs along with your living allowance. After you are sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will receive a onetime settling-in allowance to purchase items you need to set up your house, such as a bed, pots, and dishes. The Peace Corps will supply you with a tabletop gas stove for cooking, a mosquito net, a water filter, a basic medical kit, and a bicycle and helmet.
  
===Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist ===
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If the Peace Corps requires you to travel, you will also be given additional money for transportation and meals. This amount is established by the administrative officer based on the actual cost of transportation and lodging.
  
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and may jeopardize your eligibility to serve.  
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Although most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Niger with these four allowances, many Volunteers bring money (in U.S. traveler’s checks) or credit cards for out-of-country travel. You are strongly discouraged from supplementing your income with money from home. The living allowance is adequate, and it is important for Peace Corps Volunteers to live at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues.  
  
If your dental exam was done more than a year ago, or if your physical exam is more than two years old, contact the Office of Medical Services to find out whether you need to update your records. If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends requested confirmation reports or X-rays to the Office of Medical Services.  
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Retail stores in Niger do not accept credit cards. For safekeeping, you can store money, passports, and other valuables in the Peace Corps office safe in Niamey.  
  
If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, contact your physician’s office, obtain a copy of your immunization record, and bring it to your pre-departure orientation. If you have any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment, either at your pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Uganda. You will be given your first dose of antimalarial medication prior to departure.
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===Food and Diet ===
  
Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-thecounter medication you use on a regular basis, including birth control pills. Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply, we will order refills during your service. While awaiting shipment—which can take several months—you will be dependent on your own medication supply. The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.  
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Although the local diet is heavy on starches (millet, sorghum, and rice), Volunteers use creativity, home gardens, and provisions from stores in larger towns to maintain an adequately diverse diet. The limited supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and their extreme seasonality make it difficult to maintain a strict vegetarian diet. During the hot season, it is often difficult to find fresh vegetables in villages. Nonetheless, there are Volunteers who are strict vegetarians and who remain healthy by making an extra effort to ensure adequate nutrition. Others become meat eaters during their service in Niger. Meat is sometimes difficult to find in villages, but it is always available in larger towns. Bread is available in towns and larger villages, and there are small stores where you can usually find imported foods such as pasta, tuna, cornflakes, and so on.  
  
You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month supply of prescription drugs.
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===Transportation ===
  
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you—a pair and a spare. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace it, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. We discourage you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support eye care with the use of
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The villages in which rural-based Volunteers live are typically located within nine or so miles (15 kilometers), usually less, of a road serviced by public transportation. Volunteers must walk or bike from their village to wherever there is regular road traffic. Depending on the region, the available vehicle for which the generic term is “bush taxi” might be anything from a station wagon to a Land Rover to a minibus, varying in age from nearly new (very rare) to older than you are. Vehicles are usually crowded and uncomfortable and are subject to frequent breakdowns. On the two major highways (eastwest and north-south), large buses provide regular service.  Volunteers are often able to hitch rides with Peace Corps staff members, who visit Volunteers frequently, and with vehicles operated by various foreign aid projects.There are also regular monthly shuttles to and from the transit houses by Peace Corps vehicles. In larger towns, taxis are available for local transportation.
  
contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions unless an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval. If you are eligible for Medicare, are over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your future participation in healthcare plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary healthcare from the time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you will be entitled to the post-service healthcare benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. You may wish to consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age or preexisting conditions might prevent you from reenrolling in your current plan when you return home.  
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All Volunteers are issued good-quality bicycles and are given training in their maintenance. They are also issued helmets, which are required for riding at all times. If the area is not too sandy, Volunteers often use bicycles for transportation from their villages to regional transit houses or to visit neighboring Volunteers.  
  
===Safety and Security—Our Partnership ===
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===Geography and Climate ===
  
Serving as a Volunteer overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property thefts and burglaries are not uncommon. Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although almost all Volunteers complete their two years of service without serious personal safety problems. In addition, more than 84 percent of Volunteers surveyed in the 2004 Peace Corps Volunteer Survey say they would join the Peace Corps again. The Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you. This Welcome Book contains sections on: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle; Peace Corps Training; and Your Health Care and Safety. All of these sections include important safety and security information.  
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Except for a mountainous area in the northern Sahara, Niger is mostly flat, with some low hills, ridges, and rainy-season riverbeds. The Niger is the only major river. The climate is harsh, ranging from extremely hot (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely below 90 degrees) in April and May to dry and cool between November and February when the nights are cool enough (as low as 40 degrees in northern areas) to require a blanket and the days cool enough to require warm clothes. Winds off the Sahara sometimes make the air very dusty. The rainy season, from June through late September, is characterized by periods of increasing heat and humidity punctuated by violent, brief downpours. Rain is very unlikely at other times of the year.  
  
The Peace Corps makes every effort to give Volunteers the tools they need to function in the safest and most secure way possible, because working to maximize the safety and security of Volunteers is our highest priority. Not only do we provide you with training and tools to prepare for the unexpected, but we teach you to identify and manage the risks you may encounter.
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===Social Activities ===
  
===Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk ===
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Nigeriens are very social people, and individuals who are not social may be viewed suspiciously. Hanging out, talking, and laughing are desirable. Even if you do not talk a lot, hanging out quietly with Nigeriens is viewed as being social. Privacy and solitude, on the other hand, are viewed as undesirable by most Nigeriens, and your friends and neighbors will attempt to ensure that you are never alone (except, of course, when going to the latrine, taking a bath, getting dressed, etc.). In many cases, this is because they have never encountered someone of such a different background—they are only trying to be good hosts and friends. But if you establish your personal limits early on, you will find that with time and patience you and your neighbors will reach a comfortable understanding.
  
There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
  
Based on information gathered from incident reports worldwide in 2004, the following factors stand out as risk characteristics for assaults. Assaults consist of personal crimes committed against Volunteers, and do not include property crimes (such as vandalism or theft).  
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Being well dressed with clean clothes is important in Niger. Though their country is hot, dusty, and poor, Nigeriens take a lot of pride in their personal appearance. It can be insulting, even to people you know well, to wear clothing that is torn, dirty, or too revealing in any setting other than your house or while performing hard physical labor. This is not to imply that you need dress clothes for work. Collared shirts and casual slacks or jeans for men, and blouses and below-the-knee skirts or dresses for women, are acceptable. (Pants for women are also acceptable in some areas.) Lightweight cotton or other fabrics made for the tropics are best. Tank or sleeveless tops, shorts, and tight-fitting clothes (e.g., items made of Lycra, tight jeans) are not acceptable for men or women. You can have appropriate, inexpensive clothing made by local tailors.  
  
* Location: Most crimes occurred when Volunteers were in public areas (e.g., street, park, beach, public buildings). Specifically, 43 percent of assaults took place when Volunteers were away from their sites.
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Although officially secular, Niger is an Islamic country, and most people—especially in the countryside—are devout and conservative in dress and behavior. Alcohol is available in larger towns, but public drinking and boisterous behavior are considered inappropriate. Drugs are illegal and socially taboo, as well as strictly prohibited by Peace Corps regulationsPublic display of affection between the sexes is considered improper.  
* Time of day: Assaults usually took place on the weekend during the evening between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.— with most assaults occurring around 1:00 a.m.
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* Absence of others: Assaults usually occurred when the Volunteer was unaccompanied. In 82 percent of the sexual assaults the Volunteer was unaccompanied and in 55 percent of physical assaults the Volunteer was unaccompanied.  
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* Relationship to assailant: In most assaults, the Volunteer did not know the assailant.  
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* Consumption of alcohol: Forty percent of all assaults involved alcohol consumption by Volunteers and/or assailantsSummary Strategies to Reduce Risk Before and during service, your training will address these areas of concern so that you can reduce the risks you face.  
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For example, here are some strategies Volunteers employ:
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===Personal Safety===
  
Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft:
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Information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined 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 Niger 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 Niger. However, you are expected to take significant responsibility for your own safety and well-being.
  
* Know the environment and choose safe routes/times for travel
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
* Avoid high-crime areas per Peace Corps guidance
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* Know the vocabulary to get help in an emergency
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* Carry valuables in different pockets/places
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* Carry a “dummy” wallet as a decoy Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of burglary:
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* Live with a local family or on a family compound
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* Put strong locks on doors and keep valuables in a lock box or trunk 
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* Leave irreplaceable objects at home in the U.S.
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* Follow Peace Corps guidelines on maintaining home security Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of assault:
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* Make local friends
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* Make sure your appearance is respectful of local customs; don’t draw negative attention to yourself by wearing inappropriate clothing
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* Get to know local officials, police, and neighbors
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* Travel with someone whenever possible
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* Avoid known high crime areas
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Limit alcohol consumption Support from Staff In March 2003, the Peace Corps created the Office of Safety and Security with its mission to “foster improved communication, coordination, oversight, and accountability of all Peace Corps’ safety and security efforts.” The new office is led by an Associate Director for Safety and Security who reports to the Peace Corps Director and includes the following divisions: Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security; Information and Personnel Security; Emergency Preparedness, Plans, Training and Exercise; and Crime Statistics and Analysis.  
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You would be correct in concluding, after reading this book, that serving as a Volunteer in Niger is an extraordinarily difficult assignment. Living in a mud hut in an isolated village with no electricity or running water, learning new languages, functioning in a culture far different from your own, being face-to-face with grinding poverty, lacking a structured work environment—these are just a few of the challenges you will face. Work will proceed at an excruciatingly slow pace from the Western perspective, and there will be times when you will wonder if change is taking place at all.  
  
The major responsibilities of the Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security Division are to coordinate the office’s overseas operations and direct the Peace Corps’ safety and security officers who are located in various regions around the world that have Peace Corps programs. The safety and security officers conduct security assessments; review safety trainings; train trainers and managers; train Volunteer safety wardens, local guards, and staff; develop security incident response procedures; and provide crisis management support.  
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Impatience and overexcitement due to frustration are viewed by Nigeriens as personality weaknesses and will rarely, if ever, produce a favorable result. Rather than losing your cool, you are better off making fun of the situation with a couple of wry comments or a proverb in a local language.  
  
If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure that the Volunteer is safe and receiving medical treatment as needed. After assuring the safety of the Volunteer, Peace Corps staff provides support by reassessing the Volunteer’s work site and housing arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also assist Volunteers with preserving their rights to pursue legal sanctions against the perpetrators of the crime. It is very important that Volunteers report incidents as they occur, not only to protect their peer Volunteers, but also to preserve the future right to prosecute. Should Volunteers decide later in the process that they want to proceed with the prosecution of their assailant, this option may no longer exist if the evidence of the event has not been preserved at the time of the incident. The country-specific data chart below shows the incidence rates and the average number of incidents of the major types of safety incidents reported by Peace Corps Volunteers/trainees in Uganda as compared to all other Africa region programs as a whole, from 2001–2005. It is presented to you in a somewhat technical manner for statistical accuracy.  
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Despite these frustrations and bouts of doubt, with patience and perseverance you will ultimately make a significant contribution to your assigned community in Niger. Moreover, you will have considerable flexibility and the opportunity to exercise your initiative and creativity. Along the way, you will learn a great deal—about Nigeriens, about living in a developing country, about poverty, about who you are, and about what it means to be an American in the global context. You will make close friends and be amazed by their hospitality and ability to cope with extreme adversity. When your assignment is over, you will join 3,000 returned Volunteers from Niger who view their service here as one of the most interesting, formative, and worthwhile periods in their lives. And your service will continue for the rest of your life as you share what you have learned with others.  
  
To fully appreciate the collected data below, an explanation of the graph is provided as follows:
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The Peace Corps, particularly in Niger, is not for everyone.  The level of motivation and commitment required to successfully serve here exceeds that needed in most other work environments. If you are up to the challenge, we look forward to working with you.
  
The incidence rate for each type of crime is the number of crime events relative to the Volunteer/trainee population.
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How will living and working in communities affected by HIV/AIDS affect me?
  
It is expressed on the chart as a ratio of crime to Volunteer and trainee years (or V/T years, which is a measure of 12 full months of V/T service) to allow for a statistically valid way to compare crime data across countries. An “incident” is a specific offense, per Peace Corps’ classification of offenses, and may involve one or more Volunteer/trainee victims. For example, if two Volunteers are robbed at the same time and place, this is classified as one robbery incident. The chart is separated into eight crime categories. These include vandalism (malicious defacement or damage of property); theft (taking without force or illegal entry); burglary (forcible entry of a residence); robbery (taking something by force); minor physical assault (attacking without a weapon
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The AIDS pandemic strikes across all social strata in many Peace Corps countries. The loss of teachers has crippled education systems, while illness and disability drains family income and forces governments and donors to redirect limited resources from other priorities. The fear and uncertainty AIDS causes has led to increased domestic violence and stigmatizing of people living with HIV/AIDS, isolating them from friends and family and cutting them off from economic opportunities.  As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will confront these issues on a very personal level. It is important to be aware of the high emotional toll that disease, death, and violence can have on Volunteers. As you strive to integrate into your community, you will develop relationships with local people who might die during your service. Because of the AIDS pandemic, some Volunteers will be regularly meeting with HIV-positive people and working with training staff, office staff, and host family members living with AIDS. Volunteers need to prepare themselves to embrace these relationships in a sensitive and positive manner. Likewise, malaria and malnutrition, motor vehicle accidents and other unintentional injuries, domestic violence and corporal punishment are problems a Volunteer may confront. You will need to anticipate these situations and utilize supportive resources available throughout your training and service to maintain your own emotional strength so that you can continue to be of service to your community.
  
System (ANSS) and Epidemiologic Surveillance System (ESS); the information is accurate as of 08/29/06. with minor injuries); minor sexual assault (fondling, groping, etc.); aggravated assault (attacking with a weapon, and/or without a weapon when serious injury results); and rape (sexual intercourse without consent).  
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In Niger, unlike many other African countries, AIDS has not yet reached pandemic proportions, and other killer diseases, notably malaria, are much more common. The rate of HIV prevalence is about 1 percent, and victims are mostly concentrated in larger cities. Volunteers in Niger are unlikely to encounter AIDS victims unless they seek them out.  
  
When anticipating Peace Corps Volunteer service, you should review all of the safety and security information provided to you, including the strategies to reduce risk. Throughout your training and Volunteer service, you will be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas including safety and security. Once in-country, use the tools and information shared with you to remain as safe and secure as possible.
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[[Category:Niger]]
 
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===What if you become a victim of a violent crime? ===
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Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of violent crimes. The Peace Corps will give you information and training in how to be safe. But, just as in the U.S., crime happens, and Volunteers can become victims. When this happens, the investigative team of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is charged with helping pursue prosecution of those who perpetrate a violent crime against a Volunteer. If you become a victim of a violent crime, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute is entirely yours, and one of the tasks of the OIG is to make sure that you are fully informed of your options and help you through the process and procedures involved in going forward with prosecution should you wish to do so. If you decide to prosecute, we are here to assist you in every way we can. Crimes that occur overseas, of course, are investigated and prosecuted by local authorities in local courts. Our role is to coordinate the investigation and evidence collection with the regional security officers (RSOs) at the U.S. embassy, local police, and local prosecutors and others to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible under the laws of the country. OIG investigative staff has extensive experience in criminal investigation, in working sensitively with victims, and as advocates for victims. We also, may, in certain limited circumstances, arrange for the retention of a local lawyer to assist the local public prosecutor in making the case against the individual who perpetrated the violent crime.
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If you do become a victim of a violent crime, first, make sure you are in a safe place and with people you trust and second, contact the country director or the Peace Corps medical officer. Immediate reporting is important to the preservation of evidence and the chances of apprehending the suspect.  Country directors and medical officers are required to report all violent crimes to the Inspector General and the RSO. This information is protected from unauthorized further disclosure by the Privacy Act. Reporting the crime also helps prevent your further victimization and protects your fellow Volunteers.
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In conjunction with the RSO, the OIG does a preliminary investigation of all violent crimes against Volunteers regardless of whether the crime has been reported to local authorities or of the decision you may ultimately make to prosecute. If you are a victim of a crime, our staff will work with you through final disposition of the case. OIG staff is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. We may be contacted through our 24-hour violent crime hotline via telephone at 202.692.2911, or by e-mail at violentcrimehotline@peacecorps.gov.
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===Security Issues in Uganda ===
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When it comes to your safety and security in the Peace Corps, you have to be willing to adapt your behavior and lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target of crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime does exist in Uganda. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking precautions. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Outdoor markets and bus stations in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets.
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In the recent past Kampala has had its own particular risks as the site of infrequent rebel activities, which are otherwise restricted to the far north or west. They have taken the form of small-scale attacks in busy, populated areas. Although no Volunteers have been harmed in these attacks, the potential for harm exists, and the Peace Corps program in Uganda was suspended in 1999 as a result of such attacks. With the program’s reopening in 2001, several program changes were made to enhance Volunteer safety and the sustainability of the program as a whole. One of these changes is that Volunteers placed outside of Kampala may not travel to Kampala without an official reason and without prior approval from their associate Peace Corps director or Peace Corps medical officer.
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Several of Uganda’s national parks are located on the western border with Congo. Because the safety of this area varies as a result of rebel activity, it is generally off-limits to Volunteers and U.S. government employees. If you wish to plan a vacation trip to a national park while you are a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will need to evaluate the safety of traveling to some of these parks at the time you choose to travel.
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===Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime ===
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You must be prepared to take on a large degree of responsibility for your own safety. Only you can make yourself less of a target, ensure that your house is secure, and develop relations in your community that will make you an unlikely victim of crime.
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In coming to Uganda, do what you would do if you moved to a large city in the United States: Be cautious, check things out, ask questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Uganda may require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle.
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Volunteers attract a lot of attention both in large cities and at their sites, but they are likely to receive more negative attention in highly populated centers than at their sites, where “family,” friends, and colleagues look out for them. While whistles and exclamations are fairly common on the street, this behavior can be reduced if you dress conservatively, avoid eye contact, and do not respond to unwanted attention. Keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money pouch, the kind that hangs around your neck and stays hidden under your shirt or inside your coat. Do not keep your money in outside pockets of backpacks, in coat pockets, or in fanny packs. You should always walk with a companion at night. Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Uganda
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The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your two-year service and includes the following: information sharing, Volunteer training, site selection criteria, a detailed emergency action plan, and protocols for addressing safety and security incidents. Uganda’s in-country safety program is outlined below.
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The Peace Corps/Uganda office will keep Volunteers informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer news-letters and in memorandums from the country director. In the event of a critical situation or emergency,
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Volunteers will be contacted through the emergency communication network. Volunteer training will include sessions on specific safety and security issues in Uganda. This training will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout service and is integrated into the language, cross-cultural, health,
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and other components of training.
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Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective role in supporting the
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Volunteer. Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure housing and work sites. Site selection is based in part on any relevant site history; access to banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of transportation and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.
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You will also learn about Peace Corps/Uganda’s detailed emergency action plan, which is implemented in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site, you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to your house. If there is a security threat, Volunteers in Uganda will gather at predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.
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Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to future Volunteers.
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[[Category:Uganda]]
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[[Category:Health and Safety]]
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Revision as of 10:36, 16 May 2011



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in [[{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
As a Peace Corps Volunteers, you will have to adapt to conditions that may be dramatically different than you have ever experienced and modify lifestyle practices that you now take for granted. Even the most basic practices— talking, eating, using the bathroom, and sleeping — may take significantly different forms in the context of the host country. If you successfully adapt and integrate, you will in return be rewarded with a deep understanding of a new culture, the establishment of new and potentially lifelong relationships, and a profound sense of humanity.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]
See also:

Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles by Country Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

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[[Category:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Niger| |8}}]]


===Communications === not ture

Mail

Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you expect U.S. standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately, this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen).

Mail service in Niger is relatively good compared with that in other African countries. Letters and packages mailed from the United States by air (or from Niger to America) usually take two to six weeks to arrive. Packages mailed by surface typically take six months or more, so this method is not recommended. Note that incoming packages are subject to customs duties (generally small).

Despite the delays, we strongly encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family members typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly. You might also suggest that family and friends number their letters for tracking purposes and write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on the envelopes. You should bring a supply of U.S. stamps for sending mail to the United States via travelers. DHL service is available in Niger, and though it is very expensive, this is the best way to mail valuable or time-sensitive items such as airplane tickets.


Your mailing address in Niger will be:

Name of Trainee/Volunteer

Corps de la Paix

B.P. 10537

Niamey, Niger


Telephones

Cellphone service is becoming increasingly more available throughout the country; many Volunteer villages have cellphone coverage, however, your relatives and friends should be prepared for significant changes in the regularity, reliability, and speed of communication you currently enjoy.

Computers, Internet, and E-mail Access

There are increasing numbers of private telecenters and Internet cafes in larger towns. These generally work well for e-mail, but Internet access is both slow and expensive. Volunteers can access e-mail at the Peace Corps office in Niamey and at regional Peace Corps offices, but not at the training center.

Housing and Site Location

Most agriculture, environment, and community health Volunteers live in villages of 200 to 1,000 people within a few miles of other Volunteers and roads served by public transportation. You may be anywhere from 60 to 750 miles (100 to 1,200 kilometers) from Niamey. You are likely to be one of only a handful of people—perhaps the only person—in the village with anything beyond the equivalent of a sixth-grade education. Many sites have a rural health clinic or a primary school, but some do not. Housing is provided by each village and consists of a traditional one- or two-room house of adobe brick with an adobe or thatch roof. Most Volunteer houses have a small yard surrounded by an adobe or thatch enclosure. The Peace Corps pays for the cementing of the floor of your house and bath/toilet area and provides screens for doors and windows.

There will be no running water or electricity. You will obtain your water from a well and rely on a kerosene lamp or candles for light in the evening. Most of the year, you will sleep outside, with only a mosquito net, which the Peace Corps provides, between you and the stars. You will become adept at using a squat latrine and taking a bucket bath—pouring water over yourself from a bucket. Although it may sound like a two-year camping trip (and in some ways it is), your site will become your home. With time, you will find ways to make yourself comfortable, and soon enough, you will forget how strange some of these conditions once seemed.

Education Volunteers are posted in small towns of 10,000 to 100,000 people, located near clusters of rural-based Volunteers. Housing consists of a small mud brick or cement house or an apartment provided by the government of Niger. The towns have the education infrastructure and partners you will need in your assignment. Some of the towns have Peace Corps regional offices, headed by a Volunteer regional representative. There may also be Volunteers working with international and nongovernmental organizations such as UNICEF and CARE. Most of these sites are on the main road that crosses the country from east to west.

Although running water and electricity are available in most towns, there may be limited hours of electricity use and frequent power failures.

Living Allowance and Money Management

As a Volunteer in Niger, you will receive four types of allowances. The first is a living allowance to cover your basic living expenses. This allowance is reviewed at least once a year through a survey of Volunteer expenses to ensure that it is adequate. The living allowance is paid in local currency (CFA francs) and is intended to cover the cost of food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, transportation, reading materials, and other incidentals. Volunteers typically find that this allowance is more than adequate for maintaining their health and wellbeing, and you are therefore discouraged from supplementing the allowance with money from home. You will find that you receive more remuneration than your Nigerien counterpart or supervisor.

You will also receive a vacation allowance of $24 per month, paid quarterly in CFA francs along with your living allowance. After you are sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will receive a onetime settling-in allowance to purchase items you need to set up your house, such as a bed, pots, and dishes. The Peace Corps will supply you with a tabletop gas stove for cooking, a mosquito net, a water filter, a basic medical kit, and a bicycle and helmet.

If the Peace Corps requires you to travel, you will also be given additional money for transportation and meals. This amount is established by the administrative officer based on the actual cost of transportation and lodging.

Although most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Niger with these four allowances, many Volunteers bring money (in U.S. traveler’s checks) or credit cards for out-of-country travel. You are strongly discouraged from supplementing your income with money from home. The living allowance is adequate, and it is important for Peace Corps Volunteers to live at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues.

Retail stores in Niger do not accept credit cards. For safekeeping, you can store money, passports, and other valuables in the Peace Corps office safe in Niamey.

Food and Diet

Although the local diet is heavy on starches (millet, sorghum, and rice), Volunteers use creativity, home gardens, and provisions from stores in larger towns to maintain an adequately diverse diet. The limited supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and their extreme seasonality make it difficult to maintain a strict vegetarian diet. During the hot season, it is often difficult to find fresh vegetables in villages. Nonetheless, there are Volunteers who are strict vegetarians and who remain healthy by making an extra effort to ensure adequate nutrition. Others become meat eaters during their service in Niger. Meat is sometimes difficult to find in villages, but it is always available in larger towns. Bread is available in towns and larger villages, and there are small stores where you can usually find imported foods such as pasta, tuna, cornflakes, and so on.

Transportation

The villages in which rural-based Volunteers live are typically located within nine or so miles (15 kilometers), usually less, of a road serviced by public transportation. Volunteers must walk or bike from their village to wherever there is regular road traffic. Depending on the region, the available vehicle for which the generic term is “bush taxi” might be anything from a station wagon to a Land Rover to a minibus, varying in age from nearly new (very rare) to older than you are. Vehicles are usually crowded and uncomfortable and are subject to frequent breakdowns. On the two major highways (eastwest and north-south), large buses provide regular service. Volunteers are often able to hitch rides with Peace Corps staff members, who visit Volunteers frequently, and with vehicles operated by various foreign aid projects.There are also regular monthly shuttles to and from the transit houses by Peace Corps vehicles. In larger towns, taxis are available for local transportation.

All Volunteers are issued good-quality bicycles and are given training in their maintenance. They are also issued helmets, which are required for riding at all times. If the area is not too sandy, Volunteers often use bicycles for transportation from their villages to regional transit houses or to visit neighboring Volunteers.

Geography and Climate

Except for a mountainous area in the northern Sahara, Niger is mostly flat, with some low hills, ridges, and rainy-season riverbeds. The Niger is the only major river. The climate is harsh, ranging from extremely hot (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely below 90 degrees) in April and May to dry and cool between November and February when the nights are cool enough (as low as 40 degrees in northern areas) to require a blanket and the days cool enough to require warm clothes. Winds off the Sahara sometimes make the air very dusty. The rainy season, from June through late September, is characterized by periods of increasing heat and humidity punctuated by violent, brief downpours. Rain is very unlikely at other times of the year.

Social Activities

Nigeriens are very social people, and individuals who are not social may be viewed suspiciously. Hanging out, talking, and laughing are desirable. Even if you do not talk a lot, hanging out quietly with Nigeriens is viewed as being social. Privacy and solitude, on the other hand, are viewed as undesirable by most Nigeriens, and your friends and neighbors will attempt to ensure that you are never alone (except, of course, when going to the latrine, taking a bath, getting dressed, etc.). In many cases, this is because they have never encountered someone of such a different background—they are only trying to be good hosts and friends. But if you establish your personal limits early on, you will find that with time and patience you and your neighbors will reach a comfortable understanding.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

Being well dressed with clean clothes is important in Niger. Though their country is hot, dusty, and poor, Nigeriens take a lot of pride in their personal appearance. It can be insulting, even to people you know well, to wear clothing that is torn, dirty, or too revealing in any setting other than your house or while performing hard physical labor. This is not to imply that you need dress clothes for work. Collared shirts and casual slacks or jeans for men, and blouses and below-the-knee skirts or dresses for women, are acceptable. (Pants for women are also acceptable in some areas.) Lightweight cotton or other fabrics made for the tropics are best. Tank or sleeveless tops, shorts, and tight-fitting clothes (e.g., items made of Lycra, tight jeans) are not acceptable for men or women. You can have appropriate, inexpensive clothing made by local tailors.

Although officially secular, Niger is an Islamic country, and most people—especially in the countryside—are devout and conservative in dress and behavior. Alcohol is available in larger towns, but public drinking and boisterous behavior are considered inappropriate. Drugs are illegal and socially taboo, as well as strictly prohibited by Peace Corps regulations. Public display of affection between the sexes is considered improper.

Personal Safety

Information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined 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 Niger 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 Niger. However, you are expected to take significant responsibility for your own safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

You would be correct in concluding, after reading this book, that serving as a Volunteer in Niger is an extraordinarily difficult assignment. Living in a mud hut in an isolated village with no electricity or running water, learning new languages, functioning in a culture far different from your own, being face-to-face with grinding poverty, lacking a structured work environment—these are just a few of the challenges you will face. Work will proceed at an excruciatingly slow pace from the Western perspective, and there will be times when you will wonder if change is taking place at all.

Impatience and overexcitement due to frustration are viewed by Nigeriens as personality weaknesses and will rarely, if ever, produce a favorable result. Rather than losing your cool, you are better off making fun of the situation with a couple of wry comments or a proverb in a local language.

Despite these frustrations and bouts of doubt, with patience and perseverance you will ultimately make a significant contribution to your assigned community in Niger. Moreover, you will have considerable flexibility and the opportunity to exercise your initiative and creativity. Along the way, you will learn a great deal—about Nigeriens, about living in a developing country, about poverty, about who you are, and about what it means to be an American in the global context. You will make close friends and be amazed by their hospitality and ability to cope with extreme adversity. When your assignment is over, you will join 3,000 returned Volunteers from Niger who view their service here as one of the most interesting, formative, and worthwhile periods in their lives. And your service will continue for the rest of your life as you share what you have learned with others.

The Peace Corps, particularly in Niger, is not for everyone. The level of motivation and commitment required to successfully serve here exceeds that needed in most other work environments. If you are up to the challenge, we look forward to working with you.

How will living and working in communities affected by HIV/AIDS affect me?

The AIDS pandemic strikes across all social strata in many Peace Corps countries. The loss of teachers has crippled education systems, while illness and disability drains family income and forces governments and donors to redirect limited resources from other priorities. The fear and uncertainty AIDS causes has led to increased domestic violence and stigmatizing of people living with HIV/AIDS, isolating them from friends and family and cutting them off from economic opportunities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will confront these issues on a very personal level. It is important to be aware of the high emotional toll that disease, death, and violence can have on Volunteers. As you strive to integrate into your community, you will develop relationships with local people who might die during your service. Because of the AIDS pandemic, some Volunteers will be regularly meeting with HIV-positive people and working with training staff, office staff, and host family members living with AIDS. Volunteers need to prepare themselves to embrace these relationships in a sensitive and positive manner. Likewise, malaria and malnutrition, motor vehicle accidents and other unintentional injuries, domestic violence and corporal punishment are problems a Volunteer may confront. You will need to anticipate these situations and utilize supportive resources available throughout your training and service to maintain your own emotional strength so that you can continue to be of service to your community.

In Niger, unlike many other African countries, AIDS has not yet reached pandemic proportions, and other killer diseases, notably malaria, are much more common. The rate of HIV prevalence is about 1 percent, and victims are mostly concentrated in larger cities. Volunteers in Niger are unlikely to encounter AIDS victims unless they seek them out.