Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Cape Verde" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay"

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===Communications===
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===Communications ===
  
====Mail====
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====Mail ====
  
Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service we consider normal in the United States. If you bring American standards for mail service, you will be in for a lot of frustration. A letter from or to the United States takes, on average, three weeks to arrive Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Advise your family and friends to number their letters and to include “Air Mail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes. They should also write “Via Portugal” at the bottom of the address. If possible, family and friends should ask their local post office that their mail to Cape Verde gets routed through Boston (and not New York or Atlanta, where there is less familiarity with Cape Verde and therefore greater chance of delays or lost mail).
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Your mailing address in Paraguay will be:
  
Initially, during pre-service training, staff will pick up your mail at the post office in Praia once or twice a week and deliver it to the training center where mail will be placed in your mailbox.  
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“Your Name,” PCT [for trainee] or PCV [for Volunteer]
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Cuerpo de Paz
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162 Chaco Boreal c/Mcal. López
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Asunción 1580, Paraguay
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South America
  
Your address during training will be:
 
  
“Your Name,” PCT
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Compared with mail in many developing countries, mail between the United States and Paraguay is relatively dependable, albeit slow in arriving. Letters normally take two to three weeks to reach Paraguay; surface mail can take months. Packages and other types of correspondence are delayed much longer and may arrive here in a time lapse which frequently varies from several weeks to several months.
  
A/C Corpo da Paz
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As a result of the departure of two major airlines, only regional carriers now serve Paraguay with smaller aircraft, and cargo space for mail is extremely limited. Packages and other types of correspondence are being delayed for weeks and even months at intermediate points, such as Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, where they await eventual delivery to Paraguay by other means of transport.
  
C. P. 373 – Praia
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All packages from overseas pass through the Paraguayan International Package Center, where postal and customs inspectors determine which packages will be sent directly to the Peace Corps office for distribution and which will be retained for further inspection. Any package—regardless of content, weight, type of packing material, or religious slogans—may be held at the International Package Center (also known as "the package place" or the "package center"). In this case, the Volunteer will receive a notice in his/her mailbox indicating that the package is being retained. PCVs who receive this notification must collect their parcel/s personally; packages must be retrieved within one month of the date on which the notification is prepared.  
  
Republic of Cape Verde
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Another option for sending packages to Paraguay is by courier services such as DHL, FEDEX, and UPS. Although these services are more expensive, packages do arrive here in 3-5 days. Another point in favor is that packages sent through courier services do NOT go through the Paraguay Postal Service. U.S. Express Mail works in the same way.
  
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Packages with a declared value—the value claimed on the green sticker affixed to the package—in excess of $100 are usually sent to customs. If the package is sent to customs, the PCV will be assessed a tax based on the type of merchandise and its declared value. Volunteers whose package/s is/are sent to customs will be advised to this effect. Peace Corps/Paraguay‘s customs agent will do the leg- and paperwork to process and retrieve the parcel. The Volunteer is responsible for paying any fees and taxes assessed, as well as the customs agent‘s fees. Note: Packages which arrive through a courier may also be sent to customs.
  
Once you become a Volunteer your personal mail can be sent directly to your site. At site, Volunteers can have mail sent to their work address or pick it up themselves at the local post office. At some sites, post office boxes are available for a minimal annual fee. There is no home delivery.  
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We recommend that you establish a regular pattern of writing or emailing friends and relatives in the United States, as they may become concerned if they do not hear from you for an extended period of time. You may want to tell them, however, that once Volunteers move to their sites and become more involved in their projects, their correspondence habits often change.  
  
Do not send money, large packages, or airline tickets through the mail. There are no customs duties if sent by air mail; however, postage costs may be high. Packages sent in bubble manila envelopes have a better chance of arriving directly to the Volunteer’s site. Larger packages often mysteriously disappear in transit.  
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Some Volunteers and their families number their letters in sequence to try to keep track of how many have been sent and received. This is a good way to know whether someone is just too busy to write or if letters are not arriving for some other reason.  
  
====Telephones====
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Peace Corps regulations prohibit Volunteers from accepting gifts of property, money, or voluntary services directly. Such gifts can cause confusion about the role of the Volunteer, who might be perceived as a facilitator of goods and funding, rather than a person who is working to build a community‘s capacity to identify local resources. You are not permitted to solicit materials or funds for your community during your first six months at site so that you have time to engage the community in project identification. To ensure that any request for funding or donations is appropriate for your project and your community, you must have prior authorization from your program director and the country director.
  
Most Volunteers have phones in their homes. Peace Corps/ Cape Verde includes money in the living allowance to cover the cost of local use.  
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The Peace Corps has a mechanism in place for you and the communities you work with to access U.S. private-sector funds. The Peace Corps Partnership Program, administered by the Office of Private Sector Initiatives, can help you obtain financial support from corporations, foundations, civic groups, individuals, faith-based groups, and schools for projects approved by the country director. To learn more about the Partnership Program, call 800-424-8580 (ext. 2170), email pcpp@peacecorps.gov, or visit [www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.volproj].  
  
Generally, long-distance communication via telephone is available, though expensive. International phone connections from the United States to Cape Verde are better and much cheaper than the other way around. Cabo Verde Telecom, the national telephone company, has offices in all major cities and some smaller towns. Those who bring a laptop and choose to pay for Internet service may want to use economical Internet phone services such as Dialpad. You will need a microphone, headphones, or speakers.
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====Telephones ====
  
The Peace Corps office in Cape Verde can be reached by direct dialing from the United States. The numbers are 011.238.261.1618 or 261.6020. Phone service in Cape Verde is improving. However, due to variable factors such as the time of day and weather conditions, you may encounter some difficulty when making international calls. Volunteers are not permitted to use telephones at the Peace Corps offi ce in Praia to call family and friends unless the call pertains to an emergency and is approved in advance by the country director.  
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International phone service to and from Paraguay is fairly reliable and accessible to most Volunteers. Volunteers are provided with a cellular phone and a basic calling plan. If Volunteers want to increase their minutes and/or upgrade the cellphone model, they must do so with their own living allowance. Although not all areas of the country are accessible by cellphone, most Volunteers are able to call Asunción and to receive international calls with their cellphones. Those who call you on your cellphone from the States must dial the following: 011-595-98x- <your phone number>.  
  
Cellular phones have become very popular to Cape Verdeans, especially in urban centers. Since there is only one provider, phones and user fees are quite expensive.  
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The Peace Corps office, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, has access to a direct phone line between Asunción and Washington, D.C. This line is mainly for conducting official business with Peace Corps headquarters; however, it is available for Volunteer use after office hours during the week, as well as on weekends and holidays. Volunteers can place direct calls to the Washington area at no charge, while calls to all other areas are billed at the long-distance rate from Washington. Use of this line is on a first-come, first-served basis. To utilize this service, Volunteers must have a calling card.  
  
====Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access====
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====Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ====
  
If your sponsoring agency or counterpart owns a computer, you may be able to arrange Internet access for work-related or personal use. Volunteers have access to two computers with Internet access in the Volunteers’ Resource Center at the Peace Corps office in the capital. Internet is available at most sites, either through private businesses or Internet cafes. In the major cities and many small towns, Volunteers can get their own personal e-mail accounts. If you own a laptop, it may be useful for you to have your own Internet account. Peace Corps staff computers are not available for trainee/ Volunteer use.  
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Paraguay is hardly at the forefront of the ―e-revolution,‖ but Volunteers increasingly are able to rely on the Internet to communicate with family and friends in the United States. There are several Internet cafes in Asunción, and cafes are opening with increasing frequency even in rural towns. There are also computers with Internet access available for trainee and Volunteer use in the Peace Corps office. Many Volunteers acquire free email accounts and use these computers to send and receive email while they are in Asunción on official business. Trainees and Volunteers also use the library's computers for work-related matters. Trainees and Volunteers are assigned individual user accounts, which enable them to access the computer, Internet, etc.; these accounts are non-transferrable. Please note that use of PC computers is restricted to Volunteers and trainees. The office now has "hotspots" throughout the complex to which PCVs can connect. Volunteers are also able to buy a portable modem for use with their personal laptop. This cost will be deducted from the Volunteers‘ monthly living stipend. Many Volunteers find that bringing a laptop is useful to them for filling out their trimester reports for Peace Corps, watching movies, and accessing the Internet. However, do keep in mind that there is always the risk that these computers may get lost, stolen or damaged here in Paraguay.  
  
===Housing and Site Location===
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===Housing and Site Location ===
  
Your host agency will provide safe and adequate housing in accordance with the Peace Corps’ site selection criteria (see chapter on Health Care and Safety for further information).  Many Volunteers live in small apartments. At the very least, Volunteers will have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen that they will not have to share with a host family. Volunteers will likely share an apartment or a house with another Volunteer or, in some cases, be placed in individual housing. You should come prepared to share a house with another Volunteer. Your sponsor will provide simple, basic furniture—usually a bed, table, chairs, and a stove (without oven). Upon swearing in as a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will give you a modest settling-in allowance to purchase household necessities such as dishes and other household items.  
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Most Volunteers live and work in rural areas, but more are being assigned to work in urban centers in response to the recent increase in urban migration. The latest census shows that more than half of the population lives in larger towns or cities. Your Volunteer assignment description should indicate whether your project site is likely to be urban or rural. All Volunteers spend some time in Asunción because it is the location of the Peace Corps office, as well as the site of conferences and some in-service trainings.  
  
Some Volunteers will not have regular running water. Those who do not have running water will either collect water when it is available in their home or buy water from a water truck. Those who live in smaller towns will most likely have electricity, although perhaps not 24 hours a day. Some very remote areas may not have electricity; if at all, electricity may only be available 6 to 12 hours per day. To be a Volunteer here you will need to be very flexible in your housing expectations as there are no guarantees of continuous water or electricity.  
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About 80 percent of Volunteers live in small towns or villages with fewer than 5,000 people, and some of these campo (countryside) sites have fewer than 200 inhabitants. Most (but not all) have electricity, as the country has increased the availability of electricity from 24 percent of Paraguay’s 3 million people in 1978 to more than 60 percent of the current population of about 5.8 million. Generally, streets in the campo towns are unpaved, and there is no running water or indoor toilets. Few people in these towns have traveled outside Paraguay, and many have never even been to Asunción. The only people with cars are likely to be the doctor, the priest, and a few businesspeople, government officials, and ranchers. Horses, motorcycles, and oxcarts make up the majority of local traffic, while children play freely alongside roaming cows, pigs, and chickens.  
  
Volunteers are expected to live at the level of their counterparts. Housing varies from site to site, depending on what your community has to offer. This varies from a beautiful and spacious apartment or house to a smaller home in a village community.  
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For both rural and urban Volunteers, housing in Paraguay is basic. All Volunteers are required to live with a Paraguayan family during their initial two months of service. Some Volunteers then choose to live alone in one- or two-room wood or brick homes; others choose to live with a Paraguayan family for their entire two years of service. Peace Corps/ Paraguay strongly recommends that Volunteers, especially single women, consider this option. Living with a family not only helps with community integration, but also decreases personal security risks. If you choose to live with a family, the furniture will be adequate and functional, but probably not overly comfortable. If you choose to live on your own, you will likely need to furnish the place yourself.  
  
Each Volunteer should have access to housing that meets the following basic standards.  
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Volunteers who live in the capital or other large cities will have easier access to services such as running water, electricity, telephones, public transportation, and the Internet. They will also find many of the same shopping and entertainment amenities found in similar-size cities in the United States.  
  
* Private living quarters (though probably small, you will have your own space);
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
* A bed, table, four chairs and stove (without oven);
 
* A well-dug, built, and protected latrine (if no internal toilet/ plumbing);
 
* Solid door(s)with dead-bolt locks, with peep hole in the main entrance door;
 
* Secure locks on windows/shutters (bars on first-floor windows if no wooden shutters);
 
* Located away from bar and/or discos (in separate building);
 
* Phone access (if there is access to phone lines);
 
* Smoke alarms;
 
* Walking distance to work and market areas; and
 
* Reasonable access to water source.
 
  
To those who have more than the minimum, count yourselves lucky! For those of you who don’t receive this minimum, Peace Corps will work with you and the local authorities responsible to ensure the above criteria are met.
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As a Volunteer, you will receive a living allowance that enables you to maintain a modest but safe and adequate lifestyle. While the living allowance is calculated to enable you to live at the same standard as your Paraguayan neighbors, the Peace Corps requires that Volunteer housing meet minimal standards for security and that Volunteers have the resources to maintain a healthy diet and respectable lifestyle. Living allowances are reviewed once a year to ensure that they are sufficient to meet basic needs, and they are adjusted by the Peace Corps if necessary.  
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
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You will receive three additional allowances: a monthly vacation allowance (along with two days of vacation for each month of service); a one-time settling-in allowance to cover the initial expenses of furnishing a house or room and purchasing basic supplies; and an allowance set aside by the U.S. government of $275 for each month of service. This readjustment allowance, which is available upon completion of service, permits returning Volunteers to resettle in the United States without undue financial burden.
  
As a Volunteer in Cape Verde, you will receive different types of allowances.  
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While Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the Paraguayans in their communities and are encouraged to make do with the allowances provided by the Peace Corps, some Volunteers bring additional money or credit cards for extraordinary expenses or for travel during vacations. The Peace Corps strongly recommends that cash be held in the form of traveler checks to prevent loss or theft; these checks may be cashed at "MaxiCambios." The ATMs that are increasingly available in Asunción and other large cities accept ATM cards from most U.S. financial institutions, including Citibank. Peace Corps will safeguard traveler‘s checks for Volunteers in the office. Cash will not be safeguarded, nor will PCVs be able to deposit it into their Peace Corps bank accounts. Volunteers are unable to open personal bank accounts in Paraguay due to local banking rules. Keep this in mind should you decide to bring cash, as Peace Corps/Paraguay strongly discourages Volunteers from bringing large amounts of cash.
  
A living allowance covers your basic living expenses.  To ensure that the living allowance is adequate, a review is conducted on a yearly basis through a market survey.  Currently, the living allowance is equivalent to $320 to $330 per month (varies according to the exchange rate) and is paid in local currency. It is paid every three months at the beginning of each fiscal quarter (October 1, January 1, April 1, and July 1). The living allowance covers such expenses such as food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, transportation, reading materials, and other incidentals.
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===Food and Diet ===
  
A vacation allowance of $24 per month is added to your living allowance each quarter. The vacation allowance is paid in  
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Paraguayans tend to eat more simple meals than people do in the United States. Dietary habits and the lack of agricultural diversity often limit meals to beans, rice, noodles, meat (when available), corn, onions, tomatoes, and manioc. Manioc or ''mandioca'' (more commonly known in other countries as yucca or cassava) is the staple food in rural Paraguay and is as ubiquitous at the table as bread is in other countries. Paraguayan food is not spicy and is quite different from Mexican food (for instance, in Paraguay, a tortilla is a kind of fritter). Most Paraguayans are exceptionally generous and will insist on sharing their food, no matter how little they have.
  
U.S. dollars. A one-time settling-in allowance is also provided to purchase household goods upon arrival at your site.  If you are requested by the Peace Corps to travel, you will be given additional money for transportation and meals as a transportation allowance. This amount is established by the administrative officer, based on the cost of transportation and lodging.  
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Volunteers who choose to maintain a vegetarian diet are able to do so with varying degrees of difficulty, as it is a challenge not only to find the variety of foods necessary to remain healthy but to get Paraguayans to understand such a decision. A vegetarian diet is much easier to follow if one incorporates eggs and dairy products, and some Volunteers choose to add fish and chicken.  
  
Most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Cape Verde with these allowances, although many bring cash or traveler’s checks for out-of-country travel. Volunteers are strongly discouraged from supplementing their income with money brought from home. The living allowance is adequate, and Volunteers should be living at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues.
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===Transportation ===
  
Credit cards may be used at banks, major tourist hotels, travel agencies, and car rental agencies. You will not find retail stores where they can be used in Cape Verde. Volunteers set up bank accounts with the national bank.
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Most Volunteers live in communities served by a simple dirt road, which may or may not be close to a paved road. Inexpensive bus service is available to almost all communities, although heavy rain can unexpectedly close dirt roads to bus traffic for an unpredictable length of time. While a community may not be a great distance from the capital in miles, getting there may involve a trip of several hours because of the condition of unpaved roads. You will receive assistance in identifying alternative forms of transportation (i.e., a private vehicle, taxi, or truck) from your site in the event of an emergency. Volunteers may, upon request, be issued a mountain bicycle and helmet.  
  
===Food and Diet===
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Peace Corps/Paraguay, as mandated by Peace Corps/Washington, prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding as a passenger on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Moreover, Volunteers are not allowed to own or drive private vehicles in Paraguay. These prohibitions are in response to serious safety concerns, and violation of the policy will result in the administrative separation of the Volunteer from Peace Corps service.
  
The variety of food in Cape Verde can be relatively limited, depending on the site.
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===Geography and Climate ===
  
Small restaurants can be found in most cities and towns, which usually offer basics of cachupa (see below), grilled chicken (''frango asago''), beefsteak (in the Portuguese style with fried egg on top), french fries, and in some places, lobster (''lagosta''--actually crayfish). Ceris is the local manufacturer and distributor of soda and beer in Cape Verde, available almost everywhere.  
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Unlike more tropical countries, Paraguay does have distinct seasons. Summer (November through March) is long, hot, and humid, with temperatures on occasion reaching as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Winter (June through mid-September) is short and mild, with periods of cold weather (down to 30 F) and occasional frosts. Because of the high humidity and lack of indoor heating, cold winter days may seem more severe than they actually are. The short spring and autumn seasons usually are mild and balmy.  
  
''Cachupa'', the Cape Verdean national dish, is a thick, corn-based stew with fish or meat and kale. The recipe changes from island to island. It can be served as lunch or dinner, or even re-heated for breakfast.
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Because of Paraguay‘s southern latitudes, the length of daylight also differs according to the season. In the winter, the sun may set by 5 p.m. In October, the country goes on Daylight Savings Time, and by mid-December it is light outside until nearly 8:30 p.m. Paraguayans adjust their social and business calendars according to these differences. In the winter, activities are compressed, and people are in bed by 10 p.m.; however, in the summer, people may not even eat dinner until after 10 p.m. At the same time, activities slow down remarkably during the summer, especially in rural areas, and a long midday siesta divides the workday into early morning and late afternoon periods.  
  
At stores, dairy products are limited to imported powdered or pasteurized (boxed) milk and locally produced or imported yogurt and cheese. Butter, yogurt and cheese are available. Gouda and Edam cheeses are available in most larger towns. In the countryside, locally produced milk is available, but it is not pasteurized; it must therefore be boiled before consumption.
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In the eastern part of the country, there is no marked rainy or dry season, and there is apt to be abundant rain throughout the year. Summer rains tend to be short and intense, while winter rains tend to be longer and lighter. There are months with little or no rain and months when it rains nearly every day.  
  
Because of the limited rainfall, the availability of fresh produce varies, depending on time of year. The Cape Verdean diet is mostly based on fish and staple foods like corn and rice. Vegetables available during most of the year are potatoes, onions, tomatoes, manioc, cabbage, kale, and dried beans. Fruits like banana and papayas are available year-round, while others like mangoes and avocados are seasonal.
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===Social Activities ===
  
Fish is available at the markets during most of the year, usually from vendors in the street or outdoor market with buckets of fish. Locally produced canned tuna is also available and very good, if salty. It is more difficult to find fish in the countryside. Make sure you learn how to distinguish between fresh fish and bad when shopping--bright red or pink gills and clear eyes on the fish are safe to eat--grayish gills or opaque eyes and a heavy smell are past their prime.
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Recreation in smaller towns often centers on the family, with an occasional dance, soccer game, or horse race to attend. In the evening, many families gather with friends for volleyball games. The losers pay for drinks, which might be soft drinks (''gaseosas'') or beer. People frequently sit in clusters (often limited to one gender or age group) to drink the ubiquitous yerba mate, a common local drink made from the leaves of a shrub native to the region, either cold (''tereré'') or hot (''mate'') in the early morning or wintertime. During the hot summer, an important social activity is likely to be bathing in the local stream (''arroyo''). The electrification of the countryside has increased the popularity of boom boxes, TVs, DVDs, etc. Volunteers often participate in organized groups, such as ecology clubs or youth groups that meet occasionally for selected activities.  
  
Bread is available locally, most commonly in the form of rolls. There is also a choice of biscuits and cookies. Pastry shops can be found in larger cities. Most towns have people on street corners selling ''pasteis''--small pastries stuffed with meat for a few cents each.
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In Asunción and larger towns, there is a wider variety of options for social activities, including movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants, and sporting events. Volunteers usually take advantage of their rare weekends in the capital to see the latest movies and enjoy some night life. Volunteers also have access to the swimming pool at the U.S. Embassy while in Asunción.  
  
The traditional diet can be high in fat and cholesterol. Vegetarians will find it challenging to maintain their accustomed diet, lacking fruits and vegetables during certain times of the year. They may need to bring powdered protein to help increase their protein intake. European nut butter is available at some stores. Volunteers will be confronted with local customs and cultural issues when visiting Cape Verdean families. You will be offered—and expected to accept—traditional food choices. Though you can maintain a vegetarian lifestyle in your home, you should arrive in Cape Verde with an open mind and flexibility about sharing in the Cape Verdean diet when visiting friends and neighbors. Your living allowance will enable you to buy some imported fresh and canned fruits and vegetables.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
  
Meat is sold in towns at a local butcher's shop--sometimes only on market days. Conditions can be less than sanitary, so make sure that you shop early on market day to get the freshest goods possible. Goat (''cabrito''), beef (''bife''), and chicken (''galinha'') is available.
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Cleanliness and a neat personal appearance are very important to Paraguayans, as they are for Volunteers who represent the Peace Corps and the United States. You must dress appropriately when meeting with government or other officials. '''Shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops are inappropriate except around your home or for recreational activities. Whether you work in a school or office setting, in rural or urban Paraguay, proper attire will help establish your professional credibility. It also reflects your respect for the customs and lifestyle of the people with whom you are living and working.'''  
  
===Transportation===
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Although affluent Paraguayans in Asunción may be influenced by international trends and fashions, most Paraguayans view shoulder-length hair, dreadlocks, ponytails, tattoos, and earrings on men with suspicion. It is not unusual for a person to be labeled a ''drogadicto'' (drug addict) based on appearance alone. Therefore, Volunteers are not permitted to have facial piercings (nose, tongue, and eyebrow). Tattoos for both men and women should remain covered until Volunteers have been at their sites for at least six months and can realistically judge the degree to which these would be accepted by community members. Female Volunteers should always wear bras outside their homes. Male Volunteers with beards must keep them well-trimmed and clean. Nevertheless, we ask that men arrive in Paraguay clean shaven for their official identification photo.
  
Most of the transportation between islands is done by plane.  There are regular flights to and from the major islands (Santiago, Sal and São Vicente), with less frequent fl ights to the other islands. Boat transportation is also available, though not widely used nor dependable (Volunteers should use life jackets to travel by boat, which are provided by Peace Corps). Volunteers are given the equivalent of one inter-island ticket per year.  
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If you do not cut your hair and remove body rings before you arrive in Paraguay, you will be asked to do so before you are placed with a host family during training. Adherence to these rules is considered to be a sign of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, or if you view this as an unacceptable sacrifice, you should re-evaluate your decision to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. If you decide to conform to the country‘s norms, you will be amply rewarded by the great adventure and lasting friendships that await you.  
  
To travel within the islands Volunteers use a system of privately owned mini-vans, hiaces, that run regular routes between major towns. Volunteers should not travel at night due to unsafe roads and reckless drivers.
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===Personal Safety ===
  
In the major cities, public bus transport runs periodically and taxis are common. In smaller towns, there are mostly hiaces and/or taxis.  
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More detailed information about the Peace Corps‘ approach to safety is contained in the ―Health Care and Safety‖ chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Paraguay Volunteers complete their two years of service without incident. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Paraguay. Using these tools, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.  
  
In locations where transportation is scarce, you will mostly walk; bicycles are available to Volunteers upon request. Volunteers who live in Mindelo and Praia, the two largest cities, are not authorized to have or ride bicycles.  
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Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. We encourage Volunteers and families to look at our safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at [www.peacecorps.gov/safety].  
  
Volunteers are not permitted to drive vehicles or to drive or be a passenger on a motorcycle.  
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Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and Volunteer safety. There is a section titled Safety and Security in Depth. Among topics addressed are the risks of serving as a Volunteer, posts‘ safety support systems, and emergency planning and communications.  
  
===Geography and Climate===
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
  
Cape Verde’s climate is milder than that of the African mainland. Surrounded by the sea, temperatures are moderate, but it can get very hot in the rainy season and a bit cool at night in the dry season (though still hot in the day). Each island has its own mini-climate, which can also vary on a single island, depending on whether the site is on the ocean or up in the mountains.
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Volunteers have a variety of reasons for joining the Peace Corps, but high on the list must be the desire to help others. Most Volunteers bring a high degree of motivation and enthusiasm to their service. These are not lost in serving others, but are necessarily tempered by the process of learning about the daily realities of a different culture. So while Volunteers should not expect to ―change the world,‖ they can look forward to making a tangible impact.  
  
In most places, vegetation is scarce, so there is very little protection from the sun, which makes it even hotter. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt and lacks the rainfall levels of West African countries. There are days during the dry season when the Sarahan winds blow sand clouds across the ocean, causing limited visibility and leaving grit in cracks and windows. When it does rain, most of the rainfall occurs between August and October, with several brief, heavy downpours. Cape Verdeans are likely to rejoice when it rains, with the village turning out to dance in the rain! The landscape can change dramatically on some islands with the change of seasons--dry, barren hillsides quickly grow verdant corn fields.
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Being a Volunteer requires adjusting to alternative ways of thinking, living, and working. Such adjustments are neither simple nor painless. The people you work with may have strong feelings of pride and nationalism, so your own enthusiasm for change, however well intended, may be misunderstood. You will constantly need to take into consideration the emotions, needs, traditions, institutions, and way of life of the people you work with.  
  
===Social Activities===
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Your satisfaction will come from your commitment to learning and the flexibility you possess to deal with new values and experiences. After living and working with the people of another culture, Volunteers often develop strong ties that are reflected in strong emotions. Intense feelings of desperation, satisfaction, anger, happiness, anxiety, and peace of mind will crop up over and over. These feelings are the heart of the Volunteer experience. But in the end, it is a rare Volunteer who does not feel that the experience was one of the most important in his or her life.
  
With the exception of the larger cities, where there are a limited number of restaurants and nightclubs, most of your social activities consist of community activities and visiting friends and neighbors. In most communities, there are regular dances and parties that you will be encouraged to attend. In towns where there is electricity, Cape Verdeans have access to television and watch Cape Verde’s programs on two channels (Cape Verdean and Portuguese). In all communities, soccer games and church activities may provide a source of social interaction and entertainment. The traditional walk around the praça (town square) to meet friends is practiced regularly in Cape Verdean towns. 
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[[Category:Paraguay]]
 
 
During these nights out, you will likely be approached by community members who try to make you feel at home. Many Volunteers comment that developing friendships in their community is the greatest reward of Volunteer service.
 
 
 
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
 
 
 
One of the difficulties of finding your place as a Peace Corps Volunteer is finding a way to fit into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity. This balance can be difficult to achieve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be working as a representative of a professional entity in a professional setting; as such, you are expected to dress and behave accordingly. A foreigner wearing ragged, unmended clothing is more likely to be considered offensive. Long hair, body piercing, and earrings are not appropriate for men; wearing dreadlocks is considered inappropriate for men and women. Women should not dress in any way that could be considered provocative.
 
 
 
===Personal Safety===
 
 
 
More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be over-emphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety responsibilities. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (often alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as a rich American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers, especially women, experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are common, and physical and sexual assaults have occured in the past.
 
 
 
Nonetheless, most Volunteers complete their two years of service without experiencing any personal safety problems. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help Volunteers reduce their risks and enhance their safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Cape Verde. At the same time, Volunteers are expected to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being.
 
 
 
===Rewards and Frustrations===
 
 
 
Although the potential for job satisfaction is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Due to financial or other challenges, collaborating agencies do not always provide the support promised, the pace of work and life is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to, and many Cape Verdeans may be hesitant to change practices that they are used to. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys that occur while you adapt to a new culture and environment.
 
 
 
You will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work, perhaps more than any other job you have had or will ever experience. Often you will find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your counterparts with little or no guidance from supervisors. You may work for months without seeing any visible impact and without receiving feedback on your work.  Development is a slow process. Positive progress is often seen only after the combined efforts of several Volunteers over the course of many years. You must possess the self-confi dence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
 
 
 
To approach and master these challenges you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness.  There is help along the way, however. Cape Verdeans are hospitable, friendly, and warm people. The Peace Corps staff, your co-workers, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success.  Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Cape Verde feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.
 
 
 
[[Category:Cape Verde]]
 

Revision as of 20:18, 8 August 2011



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in [[{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |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.
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  • [[Training in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |8}}]]
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  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |8}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |8}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |8}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Paraguay| |8}}]]
See also:

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

For information see Welcomebooks

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Communications

Mail

Your mailing address in Paraguay will be:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telephones

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

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

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

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

Housing and Site Location

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

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

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

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

Living Allowance and Money Management

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

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

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

Food and Diet

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

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

Transportation

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

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

Geography and Climate

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

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

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

Social Activities

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

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

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

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

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

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

Personal Safety

More detailed information about the Peace Corps‘ approach to safety is contained in the ―Health Care and Safety‖ chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Paraguay Volunteers complete their two years of service without incident. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Paraguay. Using these tools, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

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

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

Rewards and Frustrations

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

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

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