Difference between pages "Thailand" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Mozambique"

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{{CountryboxAlternative
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<div style="float: right; font-size:90%; background-color: white; min-width:20%;" margin: 0 0 1em 1em">
|Countryname= Thailand
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{| cellpadding="1" cellspacing="5" style="border: 1px solid #9866FF; background-color: #f3f3ff" width="300"
|CountryCode = th
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| align="center" | '''<big>Country Resources</big>'''
|status = [[ACTIVE]]
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|-
|Flag= Flag_of_Thailand.svg
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| width="50%" |  
|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/thwb493.pdf
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*[[Packing lists by country]]  
|Region= [[Asia]]
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*[[Training by country]]
|CountryDirector= [[Kevin Quigley]]
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*[[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles by country]]  
|Sectors= [[Education]]<br> [[Business Development]]
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*[[Health care and safety by country]]  
|ProgramDates= [[1962]] - [[Present]]
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*[[Diversity and cross-cultural issues by country]]  
|CurrentlyServing= 98
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*[[FAQs by country]]  
|TotalVolunteers= 4804
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*[[History of the Peace Corps by country]]
|Languages= [[Thai]]
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|}
|Map= Th-map.gif
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</div>
|stagingdate= Jan 8 2011
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|stagingcity= Philadelphia
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}}
+
  
Since 1962, Peace Corps Volunteers have been serving in Thailand in a variety of capacities and numbers. In the second half of 1997, Thailand's economy collapsed after a period of quick decline. The impact was extensive at the national level as well as on the quality of life for the rural population. Thailand has begun to make a significant economic recovery thanks to a number of government reform initiatives. The need for the Peace Corps to continue its service in Thailand is more apparent than at any time in recent years due to the important contribution Peace Corps Volunteers are making to the Royal Thai Government's educational and economic reform initiatives.
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===Communications ===
  
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===Mail ===
  
==Peace Corps History==
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Few countries in the world offer the level of postal service considered normal in the United States. If you expect American standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. There is enormous variation in the time it takes for mail and packages to arrive at Volunteers’ sites, ranging from two to three weeks in the south to even longer in the north. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Letters may arrive with clipped edges because someone has tried to see if any money was inside (again, this is rare, but it does happen).
  
{{Volunteersurvey2008
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Some Volunteers open post office boxes in their towns, some have mail sent to the Peace Corps/Mozambique office to be delivered by staff or picked up directly whenever possible, and some in the central provinces have mail sent to a town in Zimbabwe from which friends pick it up whenever they cross the border. In any case, advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.  
|H1r=  62
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|H1s=  64.1
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|H2r=  63
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|H2s=  72.5
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|H3r=  61
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|H3s=  75.3
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|H4r=  37
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|H4s=  104.5
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|H5r=  56
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|H5s=  45.2
+
|H6r=  60
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|H6s=  68
+
}}
+
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Thailand]]''
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Despite the delays, we encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family members typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail service is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly.
  
Thailand was one of the first countries to receive Peace Corps Volunteers, the first of whom arrived in 1962. More than 7,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Thailand. Projects in early decades covered many areas, such as secondary and university teaching in English and other subjects, work in agriculture and fisheries, primary healthcare, malaria control, and soil and water conservation.
 
  
As Thailand has changed over the past four decades, the Royal Thai Government’s requests for assistance have changed. In 1997, the Peace Corps was invited to assist with primary-school educational reform, an area identified by Thais as one of the most important in the country today.
 
  
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Sending mail from Mozambique to the United States is expensive, so you may want to bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps to take advantage of Americans traveling back to the United States who are willing to mail your letters stateside.  You are likely to have several opportunities a year to send letters this way.
  
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Your address during pre-service training will be:
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle==
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Your Name, PCT
  
''Main article: [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Thailand]]''
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Peace Corps
  
In villages and small towns, where most Volunteers live, homes have electricity and indoor plumbing, including toilets and cold-water showers (occasionally a hand pump must be used to obtain the water). Drinking water must be either boiled or purchased, but is readily available. Other basic amenities (e.g., soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, lotion, sanitary napkins and tampons, towels, film, stationery, stamps, sodas, and instant coffee) should be available in provincial or regional centers, if not in your town. You should also be able to purchase items like an iron, rice cooker, or fan if desired.
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C.P. 4398
  
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Maputo, Mozambique
  
==Training==
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Telephones
  
''Main article: [[Training in Thailand]]''
 
  
Pre-service training provides you with solid technical, language, health, safety and security, and cross-cultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes to prepare you for living and working safely and successfully in Thailand. Pre-service training is rigorous and demanding, and sometimes not all trainees qualify for Peace Corps service.
 
  
Peace Corps/Thailand’s training program is split into two parts. Part one (10 weeks) is community-based and prepares you to live and work safely and productively at your site for the first three to six months. We have successfully used a community-based training design since January 1997. In this training model, four or five trainees live and study in villages located a few kilometers from a central “hub” site in a larger town. Most language, cross-cultural, and technical sessions and activities occur in the training village. Throughout pre-service training, you will primarily ride bicycles to the hub site and small group training, where you will study with the larger group for one or two days.  
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Long-distance communication via telephone is generally available but is expensive. If you are calling from outside the capital, it may take longer to get a line. Collect calls cannot be made from Mozambique, and calls placed through Mozambique operators can take several hours to connect.  
  
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You will not have a residential telephone, and you may not have a telephone available at your work site. However, public telephones exist in Mozambique, and you will certainly have the opportunity to make (or receive) international calls during your service—if not at your site, certainly within a day’s bus ride.
  
==Health Care and Safety==
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Cellular phone service is available in most of the country.  Volunteers often purchase local cellphones for $50 to $100, set up service, and use the phones to receive phone calls and send text messages. The Peace Corps does not issue cellphones to Volunteers.
  
''Main article: [[Health care and safety in Thailand]]''
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Currently, no major U.S. long-distance carrier offers calling card services in Mozambique, but your family and friends may want to check with these companies periodically in case they begin providing service, which would certainly be cheaper than using the local phone service. One Volunteer suggests looking into toll-free services for calling from the United States because it is cheaper.
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to health and medical issues. The Peace Corps in Thailand maintains its own health unit with qualified and experienced Peace Corps medical officers (PCMOs) and support staff to take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services such as diagnostics, evaluation, and treatment are also available at local, Western-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill or injured you will be transported either to a Thai medical facility (in Bangkok or the Provincial Hospitals where you serve) or to the United States.
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===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
  
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Most Volunteers do have access to computers at their sites.  Although there are computers at some schools and NGO offices, they are not available for personal use. There are several Internet service providers in Mozambique, in Maputo, and many of the provincial capitals. Volunteers can access the Internet and e-mail at private Internet businesses or at the government telecommunication centers located in some district capitals.
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
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The service costs about $3 an hour and can be slow—it takes some Volunteers up to one hour just to read four messages and write back. The American Cultural Center in Maputo provides free Internet access to Mozambicans and Volunteers, but it does not allow users to send e-mail. Volunteers also have access to the Peace Corps Information and Resource Center located inside the Peace Corps Mozambique office, where Volunteers can use the Internet and print off documents. Some Volunteers have successfully brought and used their laptop computers at their sites (please note that not all sites have electricity and/or are equipped to support usage of a laptop). As with anything you may consider bringing to Mozambique, use extreme caution and if you are concerned about losing something, then we suggest you not bring it.
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Thailand]]''
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===Housing and Site Location ===
  
In Thailand, 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 Thailand.
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Education Volunteers live in provincial capitals, district capitals or in rural areas where the secondary schools and teacher-training institutes are located. These areas generally have populations that average 10,000 to 20,000 people.  Most NGOs have offices in provincial and/or district capitals, although not all health Volunteers live near their offices; some live in small communities near where their NGO activities take place. Other health Volunteers work in smaller community organizations and live within walking distance. The provincial capitals all have electricity. In the district capitals, many buildings have electricity some of the time. Generally, in rural areas, electricity may or may not be available. Your house will be located within a reasonable distance to a general market/ store where you can buy basics such as bread, batteries, rice, soap, spaghetti, beans, and pots and pans.  
  
Outside of Thailand’s capital and other cities, many residents have had relatively little sustained exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles, though they may have had some contact with the many tourists who visit each year. 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.  
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Most people in the surrounding areas make their living from subsistence agriculture, with sugar cane, cashew nuts, and corn being the primary cash crops.  
  
* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
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The staff of Peace Corps/Mozambique works closely with host government officials and NGOs to ensure that Volunteers have safe accommodations—with mosquito screens on the windows, locks on the doors, and access to water and a latrine. All Volunteers have access to nearby pumps or boreholes, so water for washing is readily available. Drinking water requires boiling and Peace Corps provides every Volunteer with a water filter.
  
Even though a woman may think she is not especially attractive, she will find herself described as beautiful if she has fair hair and a light complexion. It is not unusual for a blonde volunteer to have strange women touch her hair as she rides on a bus. They are simply curious. However, be aware that Hollywood films have given the impression that western women are "easy". If you date Thai men, this can possibly lead to misunderstandings.
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Your host institution will provide your housing. Housing conditions for teachers and health workers are poor, and the availability of acceptable housing is extremely limited.  
  
* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
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Volunteers may live in new government housing made of cement, reed houses with cement walls and floors and tin roofs, or old cement houses that need repairs. The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors. Some Volunteers have electricity and/or running water, but many do not. There may be a small plot of ground around your house where you can grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables or begin some type of interesting secondary project Some Volunteers share a house with another Volunteer or Mozambican co-worker of the same sex (except in the case of married couples); in this case each person has a separate bedroom but shares the bathroom, kitchen, and living space.  Note that American concepts of privacy and personal space are not necessarily shared by or are realistic for Mozambicans, and adapting to a more communal lifestyle may require considerable flexibility on your part.
  
In the early days, Peace Corps discouraged African American volunteers from serving in Thailand. However, when black volunteers were finally allowed, they encountered very little racial prejudice and were well received. There was even a female African American country director in the late 1970s. The only possible difficulty is of an African American volunteer being mistaken for an African (particularly Nigerian), since they have a poor reputation amongst Thais. Asian American volunteers may sometimes be mistaken for Chinese-Thais, which can even work to their advantage.  
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Some schools hold classes in makeshift classrooms or under trees because there are not enough classrooms. Most have access to water, but some do not have electricity. There may or may not be glass in the windows of cement buildings.  A typical classroom holds 50 students and may not have enough benches for all of them. Other than blackboards, the visual aids common in American schools are nonexistent on Mozambican schoolroom walls. Schools rarely have a library, so very few books are available for students or teachers. Some schools have a staff room for teachers.  
  
* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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The NGOs vary considerably regarding their available resources; some offices may be located in nice buildings with computers, telephones and everything necessary for a well-functioning office, including vehicles. Many smaller NGOs have virtually nothing, operating out of a run-down building shell with few desks and writing all their reports and financial accounts by hand. Many smaller NGOs must rely on public transportation—and walking—to conduct their activities.
  
Age is respected in Thailand. Senior volunteers thus have an advantage. Any possible issues will probably relate to health, especially getting used to the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia.
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
  
* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
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The Peace Corps will provide you with a settling-in allowance to purchase initial household goods such as a small stove, kitchen equipment, and a bicycle. You can also find colorful cloth, straw mats, rattan furniture, and other local products to make your home more comfortable. A living allowance paid in local currency will allow you to live at about the same level as your local counterparts.
  
Thailand is one of the most liberal minded countries when it comes to homosexuality. Nevertheless, volunteers must remember to conform to the accepted standards of conduct regardless of their sexual orientation. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Thais will not say anything to an offenders face, but they will most definitely talk behind your back.
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The local currency is the metical (plural: meticais). In 2005, the exchange rate was approximately 23,061 meticais to $1. It is possible to obtain cash advances with credit cards at certain banks in Mozambique. . Visa is the most widely accepted card at hotels, stores, and restaurants that accept debit and/or credit cards. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at the major banks in Beira and Maputo and at some of the better hotels. Bear in mind that there are high fees for banking transactions in Mozambique.  
  
* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
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===Food and Diet ===
  
Thailand is a Theravada Buddhist country, except for the extreme south where Islam prevails. Thais are very tolerant of other religions. Be sure to respect theirs. Remember that you are not a missionary.
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The climate in Mozambique allows the production of many fruits and some vegetables, depending on the rain and time of year. At some times of the year you may find only onions, tomatoes, and bananas in your local market. Packaged and canned goods—imported from South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi or Zimbabwe—are more expensive than local products. Dried fish is available at most sites, and fresh fish is available along the coast. While it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian in Mozambique, your diet will lack the variety you may be used to. Rice, beans, bread, and pasta will be your main foods at home, and you will usually be able to get eggs, some vegetables, beans, rice, bread, and fried potatoes at restaurants.  
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
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There are schools for the blind and schools for the deaf. However, volunteers with movement disabilities will find there is little attention paid to their needs in Thailand. Handicapped ramps, restrooms and so on are not common even in Bangkok.
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===Transportation ===
  
==Packing List==
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Most urban travel is by crowded, slow, and bumpy bus or taxi. Rural transport ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to lots of walking. Large buses run between most of the provincial capitals. Although Mozambique has invested heavily in restoring its main roads and bridges, travel conditions are still poor, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season. Public transportation is not always on schedule or reliable—it can take two hours of riding, waiting, and changing buses to get to a town that is only 25 miles away.  You may have to walk a few miles from your home to get to your work site or to town to shop for supplies, go to the post office, and so on. Peace Corps Volunteers are also given the option of purchasing a bicycle; Volunteers must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. A helmet will be provided by the Peace Corps/Mozambique medical office.
  
''Main article: [[Packing list for Thailand]]''
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===Geography and Climate ===
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Thailand and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Although you can get almost everything you need in Thailand, underwear, clothes and shoes in larger sizes may be hard to find here.
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Three major factors influencing Mozambique’s climate are the warm Indian Ocean current moving south from the equator, Antarctic cold fronts that push northeast through South Africa, and the altitude of the Mozambique plateau. Temperatures are hot and humid for half the year, and rain can be very heavy in the summer months (December through March). The weather is cooler and drier in the winter months (May through August). You can expect extremely hot temperatures in much of Mozambique, especially in places like Tete, where the average temperature—day and night—is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for several months, topping out at 105 degrees F. Cooler weather exists in Manica Province, where mountains reach elevations close to 4,000 feet, and temperatures in May, June, and July range from the high 70s to the low 50s. Temperatures along the coast and in low-lying areas reach into the high 90s in the summer months. Flooding can occur in the rainy season, restricting transportation and communications for periods of time.  
  
* General Clothing
 
* For Women
 
* For Men
 
* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
 
* Miscellaneous
 
  
==Peace Corps News==
 
  
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
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The hot weather will take some getting used to during your first months at your site, especially for those who work in the afternoon. Though the winter temperatures may appear to be relatively mild, it is sometimes difficult to feel warm during the winter because Mozambican buildings do not have heating systems and are built mostly of cement, a poor heat conductor. You will need a variety of clothing for both hot and cold weather.
  
''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22thailand%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
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===Social Activities ===
  
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/th/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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Needless to say, recreation varies among sites and the preferences of individual Volunteers. You might enjoy visiting the friends and families of your students and fellow teachers, NGO work colleagues or community neighbors, or improving your conversational skills in Portuguese or a local language in a neighborhood hangout. You may enjoy watching soap operas, making or listening to music, going to a disco on weekends, traveling to different sites and provinces, shopping at markets, attending traditional cultural events, growing a home garden, cooking, reading, or writing letters.  
  
==Country Fund==
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Many Volunteers find that reading for pleasure becomes very important, so be sure to bring your favorite books to enjoy and share with other Volunteers. Also bring pictures of your family, friends, and hometown to show to fellow Volunteers and Mozambican friends. Consider bringing portable musical instruments, sports equipment, or games you like to play.  Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are popular sports among students and community members. If you are an avid runner, for safety reasons, you may not be able to enjoy the freedom of running whenever and wherever you want, but you will be able to find ways to get the exercise you need.
  
Contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=493-CFD Thailand Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Thailand. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
  
==See also==
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One of the difficulties of finding your place as a Peace Corps Volunteer is fitting into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity and acting like a professional all at the same time. It is not an easy thing to resolve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be assigned to a school to an international or national NGO, community based organization, or faith based organization and will be expected to dress professionally at work, as Mozambicans do.  A foreigner who wears ragged, torn clothing is less likely to be taken seriously.
* [[Volunteers who served in Thailand]]
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* [[Friends of Thailand]]
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* [[List of resources for Thailand]]
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* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
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* [[Inspector General Reports]]
+
  
==External links==
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Although different work sites may have different dress codes (at least one school requires male teachers to wear ties), for the most part professional dress can be considered casual business wear. Professional clothing for men means button-down shirts, slacks or good jeans, and casual, comfortable shoes. For women it means dresses, skirts or slacks (including nice jeans) with blouses, and dress shoes or sandals. Shorts, sneakers, dirty jeans, and flip-flops are unacceptable at work for either gender. Outside of work it is acceptable to wear jeans, tank tops, and sometimes even shorts, depending on the site, so bring a few casual clothes that you feel comfortable in.  
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/th.html Peace Corps Journals - Thailand]
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* [http://pcthailand.org PC Thailand Volunteer Wiki]
+
  
[[Category:Thailand]] [[Category:Asia]]
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===Personal Safety ===
[[Category:Country]]
+
 
 +
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 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 Mozambique Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal safety incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Mozambique. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
 +
 
 +
===Rewards and Frustrations ===
 +
 
 +
There will be challenges throughout your service that test your commitment to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We hope that you find, as do most Volunteers, that the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. You will derive deep satisfaction from knowing that you have made an important contribution to Mozambique’s development. In addition, you will learn more about yourself, your culture, and the culture of Mozambique.  You will gain new job skills and friendships that will last throughout your life.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Mozambique]]

Revision as of 08:44, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

Communications

Mail

Few countries in the world offer the level of postal service considered normal in the United States. If you expect American standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. There is enormous variation in the time it takes for mail and packages to arrive at Volunteers’ sites, ranging from two to three weeks in the south to even longer in the north. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Letters may arrive with clipped edges because someone has tried to see if any money was inside (again, this is rare, but it does happen).

Some Volunteers open post office boxes in their towns, some have mail sent to the Peace Corps/Mozambique office to be delivered by staff or picked up directly whenever possible, and some in the central provinces have mail sent to a town in Zimbabwe from which friends pick it up whenever they cross the border. In any case, advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.

Despite the delays, we encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family members typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail service is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly.


Sending mail from Mozambique to the United States is expensive, so you may want to bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps to take advantage of Americans traveling back to the United States who are willing to mail your letters stateside. You are likely to have several opportunities a year to send letters this way.

Your address during pre-service training will be:

Your Name, PCT

Peace Corps

C.P. 4398

Maputo, Mozambique

Telephones


Long-distance communication via telephone is generally available but is expensive. If you are calling from outside the capital, it may take longer to get a line. Collect calls cannot be made from Mozambique, and calls placed through Mozambique operators can take several hours to connect.

You will not have a residential telephone, and you may not have a telephone available at your work site. However, public telephones exist in Mozambique, and you will certainly have the opportunity to make (or receive) international calls during your service—if not at your site, certainly within a day’s bus ride.

Cellular phone service is available in most of the country. Volunteers often purchase local cellphones for $50 to $100, set up service, and use the phones to receive phone calls and send text messages. The Peace Corps does not issue cellphones to Volunteers.

Currently, no major U.S. long-distance carrier offers calling card services in Mozambique, but your family and friends may want to check with these companies periodically in case they begin providing service, which would certainly be cheaper than using the local phone service. One Volunteer suggests looking into toll-free services for calling from the United States because it is cheaper.

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

Most Volunteers do have access to computers at their sites. Although there are computers at some schools and NGO offices, they are not available for personal use. There are several Internet service providers in Mozambique, in Maputo, and many of the provincial capitals. Volunteers can access the Internet and e-mail at private Internet businesses or at the government telecommunication centers located in some district capitals.

The service costs about $3 an hour and can be slow—it takes some Volunteers up to one hour just to read four messages and write back. The American Cultural Center in Maputo provides free Internet access to Mozambicans and Volunteers, but it does not allow users to send e-mail. Volunteers also have access to the Peace Corps Information and Resource Center located inside the Peace Corps Mozambique office, where Volunteers can use the Internet and print off documents. Some Volunteers have successfully brought and used their laptop computers at their sites (please note that not all sites have electricity and/or are equipped to support usage of a laptop). As with anything you may consider bringing to Mozambique, use extreme caution and if you are concerned about losing something, then we suggest you not bring it.

Housing and Site Location

Education Volunteers live in provincial capitals, district capitals or in rural areas where the secondary schools and teacher-training institutes are located. These areas generally have populations that average 10,000 to 20,000 people. Most NGOs have offices in provincial and/or district capitals, although not all health Volunteers live near their offices; some live in small communities near where their NGO activities take place. Other health Volunteers work in smaller community organizations and live within walking distance. The provincial capitals all have electricity. In the district capitals, many buildings have electricity some of the time. Generally, in rural areas, electricity may or may not be available. Your house will be located within a reasonable distance to a general market/ store where you can buy basics such as bread, batteries, rice, soap, spaghetti, beans, and pots and pans.

Most people in the surrounding areas make their living from subsistence agriculture, with sugar cane, cashew nuts, and corn being the primary cash crops.

The staff of Peace Corps/Mozambique works closely with host government officials and NGOs to ensure that Volunteers have safe accommodations—with mosquito screens on the windows, locks on the doors, and access to water and a latrine. All Volunteers have access to nearby pumps or boreholes, so water for washing is readily available. Drinking water requires boiling and Peace Corps provides every Volunteer with a water filter.

Your host institution will provide your housing. Housing conditions for teachers and health workers are poor, and the availability of acceptable housing is extremely limited.

Volunteers may live in new government housing made of cement, reed houses with cement walls and floors and tin roofs, or old cement houses that need repairs. The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors. Some Volunteers have electricity and/or running water, but many do not. There may be a small plot of ground around your house where you can grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables or begin some type of interesting secondary project Some Volunteers share a house with another Volunteer or Mozambican co-worker of the same sex (except in the case of married couples); in this case each person has a separate bedroom but shares the bathroom, kitchen, and living space. Note that American concepts of privacy and personal space are not necessarily shared by or are realistic for Mozambicans, and adapting to a more communal lifestyle may require considerable flexibility on your part.

Some schools hold classes in makeshift classrooms or under trees because there are not enough classrooms. Most have access to water, but some do not have electricity. There may or may not be glass in the windows of cement buildings. A typical classroom holds 50 students and may not have enough benches for all of them. Other than blackboards, the visual aids common in American schools are nonexistent on Mozambican schoolroom walls. Schools rarely have a library, so very few books are available for students or teachers. Some schools have a staff room for teachers.

The NGOs vary considerably regarding their available resources; some offices may be located in nice buildings with computers, telephones and everything necessary for a well-functioning office, including vehicles. Many smaller NGOs have virtually nothing, operating out of a run-down building shell with few desks and writing all their reports and financial accounts by hand. Many smaller NGOs must rely on public transportation—and walking—to conduct their activities.

Living Allowance and Money Management

The Peace Corps will provide you with a settling-in allowance to purchase initial household goods such as a small stove, kitchen equipment, and a bicycle. You can also find colorful cloth, straw mats, rattan furniture, and other local products to make your home more comfortable. A living allowance paid in local currency will allow you to live at about the same level as your local counterparts.

The local currency is the metical (plural: meticais). In 2005, the exchange rate was approximately 23,061 meticais to $1. It is possible to obtain cash advances with credit cards at certain banks in Mozambique. . Visa is the most widely accepted card at hotels, stores, and restaurants that accept debit and/or credit cards. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at the major banks in Beira and Maputo and at some of the better hotels. Bear in mind that there are high fees for banking transactions in Mozambique.

Food and Diet

The climate in Mozambique allows the production of many fruits and some vegetables, depending on the rain and time of year. At some times of the year you may find only onions, tomatoes, and bananas in your local market. Packaged and canned goods—imported from South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi or Zimbabwe—are more expensive than local products. Dried fish is available at most sites, and fresh fish is available along the coast. While it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian in Mozambique, your diet will lack the variety you may be used to. Rice, beans, bread, and pasta will be your main foods at home, and you will usually be able to get eggs, some vegetables, beans, rice, bread, and fried potatoes at restaurants.

Transportation

Most urban travel is by crowded, slow, and bumpy bus or taxi. Rural transport ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to lots of walking. Large buses run between most of the provincial capitals. Although Mozambique has invested heavily in restoring its main roads and bridges, travel conditions are still poor, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season. Public transportation is not always on schedule or reliable—it can take two hours of riding, waiting, and changing buses to get to a town that is only 25 miles away. You may have to walk a few miles from your home to get to your work site or to town to shop for supplies, go to the post office, and so on. Peace Corps Volunteers are also given the option of purchasing a bicycle; Volunteers must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. A helmet will be provided by the Peace Corps/Mozambique medical office.

Geography and Climate

Three major factors influencing Mozambique’s climate are the warm Indian Ocean current moving south from the equator, Antarctic cold fronts that push northeast through South Africa, and the altitude of the Mozambique plateau. Temperatures are hot and humid for half the year, and rain can be very heavy in the summer months (December through March). The weather is cooler and drier in the winter months (May through August). You can expect extremely hot temperatures in much of Mozambique, especially in places like Tete, where the average temperature—day and night—is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for several months, topping out at 105 degrees F. Cooler weather exists in Manica Province, where mountains reach elevations close to 4,000 feet, and temperatures in May, June, and July range from the high 70s to the low 50s. Temperatures along the coast and in low-lying areas reach into the high 90s in the summer months. Flooding can occur in the rainy season, restricting transportation and communications for periods of time.


The hot weather will take some getting used to during your first months at your site, especially for those who work in the afternoon. Though the winter temperatures may appear to be relatively mild, it is sometimes difficult to feel warm during the winter because Mozambican buildings do not have heating systems and are built mostly of cement, a poor heat conductor. You will need a variety of clothing for both hot and cold weather.

Social Activities

Needless to say, recreation varies among sites and the preferences of individual Volunteers. You might enjoy visiting the friends and families of your students and fellow teachers, NGO work colleagues or community neighbors, or improving your conversational skills in Portuguese or a local language in a neighborhood hangout. You may enjoy watching soap operas, making or listening to music, going to a disco on weekends, traveling to different sites and provinces, shopping at markets, attending traditional cultural events, growing a home garden, cooking, reading, or writing letters.

Many Volunteers find that reading for pleasure becomes very important, so be sure to bring your favorite books to enjoy and share with other Volunteers. Also bring pictures of your family, friends, and hometown to show to fellow Volunteers and Mozambican friends. Consider bringing portable musical instruments, sports equipment, or games you like to play. Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are popular sports among students and community members. If you are an avid runner, for safety reasons, you may not be able to enjoy the freedom of running whenever and wherever you want, but you will be able to find ways to get the exercise you need.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

One of the difficulties of finding your place as a Peace Corps Volunteer is fitting into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity and acting like a professional all at the same time. It is not an easy thing to resolve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be assigned to a school to an international or national NGO, community based organization, or faith based organization and will be expected to dress professionally at work, as Mozambicans do. A foreigner who wears ragged, torn clothing is less likely to be taken seriously.

Although different work sites may have different dress codes (at least one school requires male teachers to wear ties), for the most part professional dress can be considered casual business wear. Professional clothing for men means button-down shirts, slacks or good jeans, and casual, comfortable shoes. For women it means dresses, skirts or slacks (including nice jeans) with blouses, and dress shoes or sandals. Shorts, sneakers, dirty jeans, and flip-flops are unacceptable at work for either gender. Outside of work it is acceptable to wear jeans, tank tops, and sometimes even shorts, depending on the site, so bring a few casual clothes that you feel comfortable in.

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 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 Mozambique Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal safety incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Mozambique. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

There will be challenges throughout your service that test your commitment to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We hope that you find, as do most Volunteers, that the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. You will derive deep satisfaction from knowing that you have made an important contribution to Mozambique’s development. In addition, you will learn more about yourself, your culture, and the culture of Mozambique. You will gain new job skills and friendships that will last throughout your life.