Difference between pages "Packing list for Senegal" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala"

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(Possible Issues for Married Volunteers)
 
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race, and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other, despite our many differences. Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal.
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Senegal]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Senegal.  
+
In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges. In Guatemala, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
  
We recommend that you bring a minimal amount of clothing.  Although ready-made imported clothing is expensive in Senegal, local tailors can produce custom-made pants, shirts, and dresses for less than the cost of ready-made equivalents in the United States. Making use of these tailors will free up some packing space for other things and ensure that your clothes are suitable for the climate. Likewise, toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, razor blades, and deodorant can be found in Senegal, so bring only enough to last you through the 11-week training period. Also bring items that will make you feel a little like your old self in a completely new and strange home.  
+
Outside of Guatemala’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.  The people of Guatemala are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another.
  
Remember to bring 18 photos with you for purposes such as visas and ID cards. These photos need not be expensive; those taken in a photo booth will suffice. Two final bits of advice: When packing, choose items that are modest, not ostentatious, and if in doubt, leave it out.  
+
In order to ease the transition and adapt to life in Guatemala, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits.  Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
  
===General Clothing ===
+
===Overview of Diversity in Guatemala ===
  
* One pair of jeans (expensive to buy locally), but because of the extreme heat, most prefer to wear khakis
+
Peace Corps staff in Guatemala recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, and ages and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
* Loose cotton tops—some sleeveless and some with sleeves to protect bare shoulders from sunburn
+
* One light jacket and a few sweatshirts, sweaters, or flannel shirts (after you have been in Senegal a while, 60-degree evenings and mornings will seem very cold)
+
* Rain jacket or poncho
+
* Underwear—cotton is best; even better is travel underwear made of fast-drying material (like Ex Officio)
+
* One or two pairs of shorts (but note that they are inappropriate to wear in most contexts)
+
* For women, several skirts or dresses, below knee length (short skirts are inappropriate except for at a few places in Dakar)
+
* For men, two or three pairs of lightweight pants (cotton or cotton blend)
+
* Two or more dressy outfits for more formal work or social occasions
+
* One or two hats or caps for sun protection
+
* Two or three pairs of socks; Volunteers wear sandals most of the time, but you will need them for other shoes
+
* One pair of sturdy sandals and sandals such as Birkenstocks, Mephistos, or Tevas for daily wear
+
* Casual shoes with closed toes, such as sneakers or running shoes
+
* Dress shoes
+
  
Note: Many volunteers have clothing made out of beautiful and colorful African material, which is made in Dakar. If you take favorite designs or even patterns, the tailors can copy them.
+
Peace Corps/Guatemala has an active Diversity Network. This is a Volunteer committee with several goals, including instituting a “buddy system” to match new Volunteers who may have some very specific concerns or questions they would like to discuss with an experienced Volunteer. The Diversity Network also assists with training and has a direct liaison with Peace Corps staff to discuss issues related to improving staff support to Volunteers.  
  
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
+
===What Might A Volunteer Face?===
  
* One bath towel (when it wears out you can buy a local one that is not as plush but does the job)
+
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
* Two pairs of prescription eyeglasses and one pair of prescription sunglasses, if you wear them
+
* Contact lens solutions (although dust is a real problem, some Volunteers wear them; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend their use or provide replacements)
+
* Sunglasses—the darker, the better
+
* Hair conditioner (it is expensive in Senegal, so most Volunteers do without it)
+
*      Tampons (very expensive in Senegal)
+
* Soft-drink mixes like Kool Aid or Tang (some Volunteers use them to cover the taste of chemically treated water)
+
* Canteen or unbreakable thermos to carry clean water
+
* Your favorite recipes
+
* Plastic food storage containers with airtight lids
+
*      A box of zip lock bags, which come in handy
+
* Coffeepot, if you prefer real coffee over instant (You can buy an Italian style moka pot[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot] in country for around 10$)
+
  
===Miscellaneous Essential Items ===
+
In rural Guatemala, there is a genuine division between the roles of women and those of men. The degree of separation frequently leads people to rely on stereotypical beliefs about people of the opposite sex—men, with respect to women and vice versa. This dependence upon stereotypical images lends itself to the dehumanization of relations between men and women and to a situation in which people are viewed as objects. Unfortunately, the image of American women portrayed in popular television programs suggests that they are sexually available. Additionally, in some regions of Guatemala, male virility is identified with power and social dominance. Some female Volunteers find the numerous sexually explicit invitations they receive to be intolerably offensive. However, during Pre-Service Training Peace Corps/ Guatemala staff and Volunteers will help trainees develop strategies to deal with these issues.
  
* Camera (preferably inexpensive) and film
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
* Swiss Army knife and small whetstone
+
* Daypack or sports bag for weekend trips (suitcases are very inconvenient)
+
* Pictures of your family and friends to share with Senegalese in friends
+
* One or two bathing suits for beach or pool swimming
+
* Watch—inexpensive, rugged, waterproof, and dustproof (cheap ones are available locally)
+
* Battery-operated shortwave radio and a supply of batteries (radios are available locally for around $40)
+
*      Solar bulbs or/and solar power panels. With a power panel you can charge your cell or any other low-voltage USB-port devices, such as IPod, Kindle, etc. All you need is sun, and that's plentiful. You may want to check the Nokero and Solio products. Peace Corps Volunteers get a 25%-50% discount on Nokero products when they join Market for Change [http://www.marketforchange.com].
+
* Small cassette player and cassettes (prerecorded and blank cassettes are available locally, but the former are not of great quality)
+
* Three or four bandannas
+
* Scissors for cutting hair
+
* U.S. stamps—to send letters to the States with people going home
+
* One set of fitted and flat sheets—double size is best (good, inexpensive flat sheets are available in Senegal)
+
* Battery-powered alarm clock
+
* Calendar or schedule book
+
  
===Nice to Have but Not Essential ===
+
The dynamic of racism does not play out in Guatemala in quite the same way as it does in the United States. The first identification of the Volunteer is as a gringo, an identification that is a mixture of proportions of admiration and resentment that vary from person to person. Gringos are typically thought of as being of Caucasian descent, rich, and sometimes overbearing. Therefore, Volunteers of color are often not initially viewed as gringos or even American. Stereotypically, all Asian Americans are described as chino and sometimes are assumed to be associated with the Korean clothing industry present in Guatemala. African Americans are called moreno or negro and often are thought to be Garifuna, a Guatemalan ethnic group primarily populating the Caribbean coast.
  
* Books (the Peace Corps office has many, but additions are always welcome)
+
Volunteers of Latin and Southeast Asian descent are often assumed to be Guatemalan. Conversations with Guatemalans regarding one’s ethnicity and heritage are numerous, sometimes to the point of being annoying. However, this allows Volunteers the opportunity to educate host country nationals about the true nature of American diversity. Without a doubt, Volunteers of color have positive, rich and successful Peace Corps experiences in Guatemala.
* Maps
+
* Light sleeping bag (many Volunteers use them as portable mattresses)
+
* Musical instrument, if you play one and can tolerate possible damage to it from the climate
+
* Cosmetics
+
* Games, e.g., Frisbee, Scrabble, playing cards
+
* Sports equipment, e.g., football, softball and mitt, tennis racket (some cities have courts)
+
* Flashlight (standard metal ones are available in Senegal); if you bring a Maglite, do not forget to bring extra bulbs
+
* Solar calculator (available locally)
+
* Small stapler and staples
+
* Warm blanket (some find one comforting) 
+
* Mini-cassette recorder to send messages home
+
* Sunscreen, at least SPF 15 (non-hypoallergenic varieties are available in Senegal)
+
  
[[Category:Senegal]]
+
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
Senior Volunteers may feel that they have successfully resolved many challenges of holding down a job, establishing relationships, and perhaps even raising a family. In Guatemala, they might find that the “big questions” to which they have the “answers” are different from the ones in the United States. Also, learning a second language is tough at any age.  Some senior Volunteers have expressed that it may take a little longer than it might have when they were younger. In Guatemala, seniors are treated with great respect, but they are also viewed as being outside of the economic mainstream.  Senior Volunteers working in a host country agency sometimes face the double stigma of being “older” and being a gringo.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
In Guatemala, the common conception of homosexuality is different than that in the United States. Homosexuals are commonly thought to be gay men (not women) who dress in women’s clothes and are often prostitutes. If one doesn’t fit into this category, they are generally assumed to be heterosexual. However, homosexual relationships are considered by many to be taboo and could provoke serious reactions in rural communities. For Volunteers, there may be pressure to live more “in” than “out,” especially in rural communities, despite having been “out” in the United States.
 +
 
 +
Lesbians will have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Wearing an “engagement ring” may help. Gay men must deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), girl watching, and dirty jokes.
 +
 
 +
Most tourist destinations have a more relaxed attitude, and discrete homosexuality is less likely to provoke as severe a reaction as in village communities.
 +
 
 +
Despite generally negative perceptions of homosexuality within Guatemala, there are openly gay Guatemalans, as well as numerous gay organizations and businesses that cater to the gay population, especially in the capital. In addition, Peace Corps/Guatemala has as part of the Diversity Network an affinity group called Cuates (friends) that periodically organizes social outings for gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers and friends. 
 +
 
 +
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
Guatemala is a profoundly religious country where religion is public and emotional. For Volunteers used to a more contemplative or low-key religious tradition, it may be a challenge to identify other people who can support your faith.
 +
 
 +
Although Guatemala’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, almost all churches are either Roman Catholic or Christian Fundamentalist. In the tension between Catholics and Fundamentalists, there is little recognition of other faith communities, including Mayan religious practices.  Many Guatemalans remain uninformed about Judaism and may have negative attitudes. Managing a conversation can be delicate and some Volunteers have had difficulty being open about their Jewish ethnicity. There is, however, a rich history of Jews in Guatemala and an active Jewish community that welcomes foreigners. There are also Hindu and Muslim communities in Guatemala. Peace Corps/Guatemala staff can provide information to Volunteers who are interested in connecting to various communities of faith.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities====
 +
 
 +
In the wake of 36 years of civil war, there are a number of people with permanent disabilities. However, there is virtually no consideration for handicap access in public transportation or in public buildings.
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps Office of Medical Services, as part of the medical clearance process, determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Guatemala without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Guatemala staff work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
Married couples may face unique challenges in Guatemala. For instance, a married man may be encouraged to be the more dominant member in the relationship. He may also be encouraged by the local culture to make decisions independent of his spouse’s views and to have his wife serve him. He may be ridiculed if he performs domestic tasks.  On the other hand, a married woman may find herself in a less independent role than that to which she has been accustomed. She may also experience a more limited social life in the community than single Volunteers (since it may be assumed that she will be busy taking care of her husband).  Additionally, she may be expected by the local culture to perform “traditional” domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning. Competition between a couple may become a difficulty, especially if one spouse learns faster than the other (e.g., language skills, job skills). There also may be differences in job satisfaction and/or different needs between spouses. Younger Volunteers may look to couples for advice and support. Married couples also are likely to be treated with more respect because the community sees marriage as a responsibility. They may be asked when they will have children.
 +
 
 +
PLEASE NOTE: Married couples will most likely NOT live together during pre-service training to allow them to develop their language skills, but there will be chances to spend time together. 
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Guatemala]]

Revision as of 07:41, 10 August 2010

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guatemala| |7}}]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race, and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other, despite our many differences. Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal.

In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges. In Guatemala, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.

Outside of Guatemala’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Guatemala are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another.

In order to ease the transition and adapt to life in Guatemala, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits. Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Overview of Diversity in Guatemala

Peace Corps staff in Guatemala recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, and ages and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

Peace Corps/Guatemala has an active Diversity Network. This is a Volunteer committee with several goals, including instituting a “buddy system” to match new Volunteers who may have some very specific concerns or questions they would like to discuss with an experienced Volunteer. The Diversity Network also assists with training and has a direct liaison with Peace Corps staff to discuss issues related to improving staff support to Volunteers.

What Might A Volunteer Face?

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

In rural Guatemala, there is a genuine division between the roles of women and those of men. The degree of separation frequently leads people to rely on stereotypical beliefs about people of the opposite sex—men, with respect to women and vice versa. This dependence upon stereotypical images lends itself to the dehumanization of relations between men and women and to a situation in which people are viewed as objects. Unfortunately, the image of American women portrayed in popular television programs suggests that they are sexually available. Additionally, in some regions of Guatemala, male virility is identified with power and social dominance. Some female Volunteers find the numerous sexually explicit invitations they receive to be intolerably offensive. However, during Pre-Service Training Peace Corps/ Guatemala staff and Volunteers will help trainees develop strategies to deal with these issues.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

The dynamic of racism does not play out in Guatemala in quite the same way as it does in the United States. The first identification of the Volunteer is as a gringo, an identification that is a mixture of proportions of admiration and resentment that vary from person to person. Gringos are typically thought of as being of Caucasian descent, rich, and sometimes overbearing. Therefore, Volunteers of color are often not initially viewed as gringos or even American. Stereotypically, all Asian Americans are described as chino and sometimes are assumed to be associated with the Korean clothing industry present in Guatemala. African Americans are called moreno or negro and often are thought to be Garifuna, a Guatemalan ethnic group primarily populating the Caribbean coast.

Volunteers of Latin and Southeast Asian descent are often assumed to be Guatemalan. Conversations with Guatemalans regarding one’s ethnicity and heritage are numerous, sometimes to the point of being annoying. However, this allows Volunteers the opportunity to educate host country nationals about the true nature of American diversity. Without a doubt, Volunteers of color have positive, rich and successful Peace Corps experiences in Guatemala.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Senior Volunteers may feel that they have successfully resolved many challenges of holding down a job, establishing relationships, and perhaps even raising a family. In Guatemala, they might find that the “big questions” to which they have the “answers” are different from the ones in the United States. Also, learning a second language is tough at any age. Some senior Volunteers have expressed that it may take a little longer than it might have when they were younger. In Guatemala, seniors are treated with great respect, but they are also viewed as being outside of the economic mainstream. Senior Volunteers working in a host country agency sometimes face the double stigma of being “older” and being a gringo.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

In Guatemala, the common conception of homosexuality is different than that in the United States. Homosexuals are commonly thought to be gay men (not women) who dress in women’s clothes and are often prostitutes. If one doesn’t fit into this category, they are generally assumed to be heterosexual. However, homosexual relationships are considered by many to be taboo and could provoke serious reactions in rural communities. For Volunteers, there may be pressure to live more “in” than “out,” especially in rural communities, despite having been “out” in the United States.

Lesbians will have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Wearing an “engagement ring” may help. Gay men must deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), girl watching, and dirty jokes.

Most tourist destinations have a more relaxed attitude, and discrete homosexuality is less likely to provoke as severe a reaction as in village communities.

Despite generally negative perceptions of homosexuality within Guatemala, there are openly gay Guatemalans, as well as numerous gay organizations and businesses that cater to the gay population, especially in the capital. In addition, Peace Corps/Guatemala has as part of the Diversity Network an affinity group called Cuates (friends) that periodically organizes social outings for gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers and friends.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

Guatemala is a profoundly religious country where religion is public and emotional. For Volunteers used to a more contemplative or low-key religious tradition, it may be a challenge to identify other people who can support your faith.

Although Guatemala’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, almost all churches are either Roman Catholic or Christian Fundamentalist. In the tension between Catholics and Fundamentalists, there is little recognition of other faith communities, including Mayan religious practices. Many Guatemalans remain uninformed about Judaism and may have negative attitudes. Managing a conversation can be delicate and some Volunteers have had difficulty being open about their Jewish ethnicity. There is, however, a rich history of Jews in Guatemala and an active Jewish community that welcomes foreigners. There are also Hindu and Muslim communities in Guatemala. Peace Corps/Guatemala staff can provide information to Volunteers who are interested in connecting to various communities of faith.

Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities

In the wake of 36 years of civil war, there are a number of people with permanent disabilities. However, there is virtually no consideration for handicap access in public transportation or in public buildings.

The Peace Corps Office of Medical Services, as part of the medical clearance process, determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Guatemala without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Guatemala staff work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

Possible Issues for Married Volunteers

Married couples may face unique challenges in Guatemala. For instance, a married man may be encouraged to be the more dominant member in the relationship. He may also be encouraged by the local culture to make decisions independent of his spouse’s views and to have his wife serve him. He may be ridiculed if he performs domestic tasks. On the other hand, a married woman may find herself in a less independent role than that to which she has been accustomed. She may also experience a more limited social life in the community than single Volunteers (since it may be assumed that she will be busy taking care of her husband). Additionally, she may be expected by the local culture to perform “traditional” domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning. Competition between a couple may become a difficulty, especially if one spouse learns faster than the other (e.g., language skills, job skills). There also may be differences in job satisfaction and/or different needs between spouses. Younger Volunteers may look to couples for advice and support. Married couples also are likely to be treated with more respect because the community sees marriage as a responsibility. They may be asked when they will have children.

PLEASE NOTE: Married couples will most likely NOT live together during pre-service training to allow them to develop their language skills, but there will be chances to spend time together.