Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Uganda" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Paraguay"

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{{FAQs by country}}
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.
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Uganda, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Uganda. Outside of Uganda’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Uganda 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 cultural differences that you present.
 
  
  
  
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Uganda, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself 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 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 limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Paraguay? ===
  
===Overview of Diversity in Uganda ===
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits.  The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.
  
The Peace Corps staff in Uganda recognizes 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 races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution. It is a good idea to pack any prescription drugs you take in your carry-on luggage. Please check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm.  
  
Many Ugandans have little or no concept of the United States as a pluralistic society and generally view Americans as a homogeneous group. For some Ugandans, being American is synonymous with being white or of European descent. This is understandable when one considers the images that come to Uganda via the Western media and the extremely limited contact the average Ugandan has had with the Western world, mainly in the form of development agencies, missionaries, and television. Peace Corps/Uganda closely reflects the demographic distribution of Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide.
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===What is the electric current in Paraguay? ===
  
While aproximately 80 percent of Volunteers are caucasian between 21 and 30 years of age, Peace Corps worldwide continues to attract an increasingly more diverse group of Americans to assist us in demonstrating an ever more realistic portrait of America to Ugandans.  
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The current is 220 volts—any electrical appliance of 110 volts that you bring will require a transformer.  
  
===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
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===How much money should I bring? ===
  
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash because the Peace Corps cannot provide safekeeping for your cash and it is not currently feasible to open a U.S. dollar bank account. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.
  
Equality of the sexes is generally considered irrelevant in Ugandan culture, as distinct roles and responsibilities are expected of men and women. Female Volunteers often encounter extremely conservative attitudes regarding gender equality. Likewise, the behavior of female Volunteers is more often scrutinized and criticized than that of their male peers.  Although the Peace Corps emphasizes sensitivity toward other cultures, it may occasionally be necessary to explain why you believe something or behave a certain way—but only you can determine when and if such an explanation is worthwhile.  Neither men nor women are considered adults until they are married and have children. This being the case, female Volunteers should expect curiosity from Ugandan friends regarding their marital status and whether they have children.
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
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Volunteers often state an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures as main reasons for wanting to join the Peace Corps. You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel around Paraguay and other countries. Each Volunteer accumulates two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service (this totals your first six months in-country), or the last three months of service. The first few months are important for establishing good relations with your community, and in the last few months you are expected to be finishing up projects and saying goodbye.  We also suggest that you plan vacations to coincide with low levels of activity at your site.
  
Skin color and appearance, more than actual heritage, often influence how Volunteers are perceived and treated by their host communities. Even if they can convince Ugandans that they are indeed American, Volunteers who do not fit the mold of the “typical” American may still not be regarded as “true” Americans. African-American Volunteers often express frustration or disappointment at being asked, “What are you?” and having Ugandans show genuine shock or amazement
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Family and friends are welcome to visit you six months after you have sworn-in for service, and as long as their stay coincides with your planned vacation time and does not interfere with your work. However, you should advise them not to purchase any nonrefundable tickets until you are able to speak with your associate Peace Corps director (APCD) about any scheduling conflicts with mandatory in-service training events. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. Consistent with the Peace Corps’ worldwide policy that prohibits nonmarried couples from serving together, Peace Corps/Paraguay does not permit a Volunteer’s “significant other” to establish permanent residence with the Volunteer during service. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.
  
when they answer “African American” or “black American.” Ugandans often react with disbelief and ask, “But where are your parents from?” African-American women should be aware that they may be perceived as Ugandan women and thus be treated as such. This can be an asset in some situations and a challenge in others in many instances. African-American women may find that their behavior is scrutinized more closely than that of white women. Asian-American Volunteers express frustration at being assumed to be Chinese or Japanese rather than American.
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
Because of the kung fu movies shown throughout the country, some Asian Americans have been asked if they know kung fu. This may seem humorous at first, but can eventually become tiresome. Americans of South Asian descent, whether Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, or Pakistani, are collectively referred to as Indians or Asians rather than Americans. Some Ugandans may feel resentment toward people with a South Asian background because of the unequal treatment received by Ugandans and South Asian residents of Uganda during the period of British colonialism.  
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance applications will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
  
On the flip side, Volunteers of color may also be surprised to find that Ugandans consider them to be American or European regardless of their color and refer to them using words normally used to describe white people.
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
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Volunteers in Paraguay do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and a lot of walking. On occasion, a Volunteer may choose to extend for a third year to serve as a coordinator. Volunteer coordinators will need to obtain a local driver’s license since they are permitted to drive Peace Corps vehicles. Your U.S. driver’s license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.
  
Age can also determine how a Volunteer is perceived and treated by Ugandans. Older Volunteers may be respected for their wisdom but may face challenges in being fully accepted in the workplace. Ugandans can be especially curious about older female Volunteers, puzzled as to why they have no spouse or children, even if they have the pictures to prove otherwise. In addition, since most Volunteers are younger than 30, it may be difficult for older Volunteers to develop friendships and gain the necessary support within the most accessible group—other Peace Corps Volunteers.
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===What should I bring as gifts for Paraguayan friends and my host family? ===
  
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
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This is not a requirement, but if you wish to bring something, a simple token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; picture frames, pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes;
  
Gay and lesbian Volunteers need to know that Uganda has a very conservative society. Homosexuality is illegal (with a possible sentence of 17 years to life imprisonment), and many Ugandans deny that homosexuality actually exists in their culture. Any display of your sexual orientation will, at best, be severely frowned upon and, at worst, may threaten your safety and security. Most previous gay, lesbian, or bisexual Volunteers in Uganda have decided to not be open about their sexual orientation. Prior to accepting an assignment in Uganda, you should discuss this issue thoroughly with a member of the recruitment staff with whom you feel comfortable. Anyone who wants to discuss this subject further once in Uganda can do so in confidence with a Peace Corps staff member.
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souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.  
  
'''See also:''' Articles about Uganda on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
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Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to their permanent sites until approximately the eighth week of pre-service training.  This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selection and development. You will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, many factors influence the site assignment process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Your Volunteer assignment description will give you some idea of the kinds of sites Volunteers in your sector live in. Some of the more remote sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital, but most sites are within half that distance.
  
Whether you practice a religion or not, you will probably find Ugandan approaches to spirituality different from what you are used to. You will certainly gain a deeper understandingover your two years of service, but initially, the most disconcerting thing may be the constant open discussion of religion.
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
You should be prepared to be asked if you are a Christian, if you are “saved,” and if there are any Muslims in America. You may be stared at in disbelief if you state that you do not believe in God. Your tolerance of and willingness to answer such questions will serve you well.  
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The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. Although your family may be tempted to try to contact you directly, precious time may be saved in the event that you need to go home if the office is contacted first. Also, it is hard on a Volunteer to receive bad news through impersonal means such as e-mail; Peace Corps staff can provide the personal support that a Volunteer may need when the news is delivered. During normal business hours, the office’s number is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from the Paraguay desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2515, 2516, or 2525.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities ====
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===Can I call home from Paraguay? ===
  
Ugandans with disabilities are generally treated no differently from other Ugandans (hence the lack of special schools or accommodations for those with disabilities) and are expected to complete the same work, though not necessarily using the same methods.  
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Yes. As mentioned earlier, Peace Corps/Paraguay has a direct telephone line from Asunción to Washington, D.C., that is available for Volunteer use after office hours and on weekends. Calls made to the Washington area are free, but calls to all other areas are billed to Volunteers at the long-distance rate from Washington, D.C. To take full advantage of the service, you should bring a major telephone company calling card or prepaid phone card to Paraguay to bill nonfree calls made through this line. Volunteers who call home from their site (or the telephone office nearest to the site) usually place collect calls, since the telephone company, COPACO, is unpredictable about accepting calling cards and credit cards.  
  
There is little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States. That being said, as part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Uganda without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/ Uganda staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
  
While this section on diversity may be unsettling to some of you, we want you to be prepared for the many challenges you are about to face. Know that “non-stereotypical” Volunteers have had excellent experiences in Uganda. Ultimately, only you can shape your time in Uganda as a Volunteer, but Peace Corps/Uganda is here to support you along the way.  
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Do not bring a cellular phone with you, since it probably will not be compatible with the system in Paraguay. Peace Corps will provide a cell phone after training is completed and the trainee has sworn in as a volunteer. There is a monthly charge for minutes used. Text messages are either free or very cheap. Volunteers can receive calls from US or within Paraguay for free.
  
[[Category:Uganda]]
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
 +
 
 +
Many businesses and individuals in the capital and in some larger cities have Internet access, and Internet cafes are springing up even in some of the more provincial towns.  Volunteers posted at rural sites, however, may be limited to sending and receiving e-mail on their occasional visits to the capital. The Peace Corps office has computers with Internet access that Volunteers can use. Before leaving the United States, many prospective Volunteers sign up for free e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, that they can access worldwide.
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 +
It is suggested that Volunteers not bring a laptop computer due to the threat of theft and environmental conditions.  This is however changing and most volunteers have laptops and use them as part of their service. Should Volunteers decide to bring their laptop computers, they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the equipment themselves. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring computers to get personal property insurance. Because of the high value of laptops, owners may significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of theft. Be aware that you probably will not find the same level of technical assistance and service in Paraguay as you would in the States and that replacement parts could take many weeks to arrive. High humidity and dust, which are difficult to avoid, also pose problems. Also note that being able to gain Internet access via a laptop is unlikely because very few Volunteers have a telephone line in their home or adequate lines at work. If you bring a laptop, be sure to bring a high-quality surge protector (electrical lapses and surges are common), which is more expensive in Paraguay than in the United States.
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 +
===How can people send items to me in Paraguay? ===
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 +
We do not recommend that people mail packages, money, or airline tickets to Volunteers. There are modern supermarkets and well-stocked stores in the capital that should supply you with all your needs. Customs duties may exceed the value of the items sent, and picking up a package often requires an entire day’s travel to the city. Finally, packages can mysteriously disappear in transit.
 +
 
 +
Should it become necessary to send a package, however, we recommend that it be sent through courier service only, such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, or U.S. Postal Service Express Mail.  Correspondence sent via courier arrives in three to five days.  Valuables, such as digital cameras, iPods, and other attention-getting items, should not be sent due to theft.
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 +
Use the following address for DHL mailings:
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 +
PCV name
 +
 
 +
Cuerpo de Paz
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 +
Chaco Boreal 162, c/Mcal. Lopez
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 +
Asuncion 1580
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 +
Paraguay
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 +
 
 +
 
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To avoid sending an airline ticket overseas, a family member can purchase the ticket in the United States, and you can pick it up at the airline’s office in Asunción, using the reference number provided by your family member.
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 +
[[Category:Paraguay]]

Revision as of 15:44, 4 June 2011

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

For information see Welcomebooks



How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Paraguay?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution. It is a good idea to pack any prescription drugs you take in your carry-on luggage. Please check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm.

What is the electric current in Paraguay?

The current is 220 volts—any electrical appliance of 110 volts that you bring will require a transformer.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash because the Peace Corps cannot provide safekeeping for your cash and it is not currently feasible to open a U.S. dollar bank account. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

Volunteers often state an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures as main reasons for wanting to join the Peace Corps. You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel around Paraguay and other countries. Each Volunteer accumulates two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service (this totals your first six months in-country), or the last three months of service. The first few months are important for establishing good relations with your community, and in the last few months you are expected to be finishing up projects and saying goodbye. We also suggest that you plan vacations to coincide with low levels of activity at your site.

Family and friends are welcome to visit you six months after you have sworn-in for service, and as long as their stay coincides with your planned vacation time and does not interfere with your work. However, you should advise them not to purchase any nonrefundable tickets until you are able to speak with your associate Peace Corps director (APCD) about any scheduling conflicts with mandatory in-service training events. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. Consistent with the Peace Corps’ worldwide policy that prohibits nonmarried couples from serving together, Peace Corps/Paraguay does not permit a Volunteer’s “significant other” to establish permanent residence with the Volunteer during service. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance applications will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Paraguay do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and a lot of walking. On occasion, a Volunteer may choose to extend for a third year to serve as a coordinator. Volunteer coordinators will need to obtain a local driver’s license since they are permitted to drive Peace Corps vehicles. Your U.S. driver’s license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.

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

This is not a requirement, but if you wish to bring something, a simple token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; picture frames, pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes;

souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

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

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to their permanent sites until approximately the eighth week of pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selection and development. You will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, many factors influence the site assignment process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Your Volunteer assignment description will give you some idea of the kinds of sites Volunteers in your sector live in. Some of the more remote sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital, but most sites are within half that distance.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. Although your family may be tempted to try to contact you directly, precious time may be saved in the event that you need to go home if the office is contacted first. Also, it is hard on a Volunteer to receive bad news through impersonal means such as e-mail; Peace Corps staff can provide the personal support that a Volunteer may need when the news is delivered. During normal business hours, the office’s number is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from the Paraguay desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2515, 2516, or 2525.

Can I call home from Paraguay?

Yes. As mentioned earlier, Peace Corps/Paraguay has a direct telephone line from Asunción to Washington, D.C., that is available for Volunteer use after office hours and on weekends. Calls made to the Washington area are free, but calls to all other areas are billed to Volunteers at the long-distance rate from Washington, D.C. To take full advantage of the service, you should bring a major telephone company calling card or prepaid phone card to Paraguay to bill nonfree calls made through this line. Volunteers who call home from their site (or the telephone office nearest to the site) usually place collect calls, since the telephone company, COPACO, is unpredictable about accepting calling cards and credit cards.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

Do not bring a cellular phone with you, since it probably will not be compatible with the system in Paraguay. Peace Corps will provide a cell phone after training is completed and the trainee has sworn in as a volunteer. There is a monthly charge for minutes used. Text messages are either free or very cheap. Volunteers can receive calls from US or within Paraguay for free.

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

Many businesses and individuals in the capital and in some larger cities have Internet access, and Internet cafes are springing up even in some of the more provincial towns. Volunteers posted at rural sites, however, may be limited to sending and receiving e-mail on their occasional visits to the capital. The Peace Corps office has computers with Internet access that Volunteers can use. Before leaving the United States, many prospective Volunteers sign up for free e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, that they can access worldwide.

It is suggested that Volunteers not bring a laptop computer due to the threat of theft and environmental conditions. This is however changing and most volunteers have laptops and use them as part of their service. Should Volunteers decide to bring their laptop computers, they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the equipment themselves. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring computers to get personal property insurance. Because of the high value of laptops, owners may significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of theft. Be aware that you probably will not find the same level of technical assistance and service in Paraguay as you would in the States and that replacement parts could take many weeks to arrive. High humidity and dust, which are difficult to avoid, also pose problems. Also note that being able to gain Internet access via a laptop is unlikely because very few Volunteers have a telephone line in their home or adequate lines at work. If you bring a laptop, be sure to bring a high-quality surge protector (electrical lapses and surges are common), which is more expensive in Paraguay than in the United States.

How can people send items to me in Paraguay?

We do not recommend that people mail packages, money, or airline tickets to Volunteers. There are modern supermarkets and well-stocked stores in the capital that should supply you with all your needs. Customs duties may exceed the value of the items sent, and picking up a package often requires an entire day’s travel to the city. Finally, packages can mysteriously disappear in transit.

Should it become necessary to send a package, however, we recommend that it be sent through courier service only, such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, or U.S. Postal Service Express Mail. Correspondence sent via courier arrives in three to five days. Valuables, such as digital cameras, iPods, and other attention-getting items, should not be sent due to theft.

Use the following address for DHL mailings:

PCV name

Cuerpo de Paz

Chaco Boreal 162, c/Mcal. Lopez

Asuncion 1580

Paraguay


To avoid sending an airline ticket overseas, a family member can purchase the ticket in the United States, and you can pick it up at the airline’s office in Asunción, using the reference number provided by your family member.