Difference between pages "Training in Togo" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Jamaica"

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{{FAQs by country}}
Training is held in communities that are as similar as possible to the typical site for a given project.  During your pre-service training, you will live with a host family. Other trainees from your program will live in the same village, but you will all have your own host family. All of your language, technical, cross-cultural and community development, and personal health and safety sessions will take place either in your host village or a neighboring community.  Current Volunteers are available during PST to assist in training and to answer your questions.
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Training days are long and demanding, so be prepared. Your day will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch and other short breaks throughout the day. On Saturdays, you will have classes from 7:30 a.m. until noon. Training is an essential part of your Peace Corps service. Our goal is to give you sufficient skills and information to prepare you for living and working in Togo.  Pre-service training uses an experiential approach wherever possible. Rather than reading and/or hearing about Volunteer activities, you will be practicing, processing, and evaluating actual or simulated activities.
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Jamaica? ===
  
The 11 weeks of pre-service training are divided into two phases. Phase I runs for the first six weeks and is very intensive in French language and cultural training.  Additionally, there are sessions on safety and security, medical/health, and some technical training. This first phase will help you develop basic language and cultural adaptation skills.  
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits.  
  
Phase II is also very intensive, but it centers on technical training. Language classes will continue, and technical material will increasingly be presented and practiced in French. Some trainees will begin local language classes during this phase, depending on their level of French. Safety and Security training and medical/health training also continue.  
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The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined linear dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carryon bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
  
During the second or third week of training, your program director will interview you about possible sites to help identify a post that is linked to your skills, interests, and needs. During the seventh or eighth week, you will spend a week at your site. This will be your first contact with your future site and will provide an idea of what real Volunteer life is like, what work options exist, and an opportunity to know more of Togo.  It also gives you a break from the intense, structured regime of the pre-service training schedule.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets,weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.  
  
===Technical Training ===
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===What is the electric current in Jamaica? ===
  
Technical training prepares you to work in Togo by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Togolese experts, and current Volunteers conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.  
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It is 110 volts, 50 cycles, the same as in the United States.  
  
Technical training will include sessions on general environmental, economics, and the political situation in Togo and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Togolese agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them.
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===How much money should I bring? ===
  
You will be supported and evaluated by the training staff throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you will need to undertake your project activities and to be a productive member of your community.  
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
  
===Language Training ===
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, will help you integrate into your host community, and ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements in order to complete training and become a VolunteerExperienced Togolese language instructors teach formal language classes 5 days a week in small classes of four to five people. Language is also introduced in the health, culture, and technical components of training.  
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Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your workExtended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your Country Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.
  
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom instruction, you will be given language assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. Our goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills in French and a local language so that you can practice and develop language skills more thoroughly once you are at your site. Prior to swearing in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.  
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:Though in cases of emergency, rules can be bent.  I had a friend visiting when a Cat-5 hurricane came at us, and smuggled her in to our consolidation point. A good rule, at least while I was there (the CD is different now), was don't ask, just do. Asking will get a "No," while doing often got commended.  Hopefully the new CD is a bit more predictable? [[User:207.172.94.91|207.172.94.91]] 06:06, 13 July 2007 (PDT)
  
===Cross-Cultural Training ===
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Togolese host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life at your site. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Togo. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.  
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas.  Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.
  
Cross-cultural and community development will be covered to help improve your skills of perception, communication, and facilitation. Topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, and traditional and political structures are also addressed.  
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Clements Insurance offers a package specifically for Peace Corps volunteers. Many volunteers loose items such as cameras or laptops to damage or theft, so this could be a good investment.  A good rule of thumb however is to put yourself in the mentality that everything you bring to Jamaica will stay in Jamaica.  This means do not bring any irreplaceable jewelry or other items, and be open to the possibility that your items may be stolen, or that you may choose to leave them with your community when you depart.
  
===Health Training ===
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. As a Volunteer, you are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. As a trainee, you are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Togo. Sexual health and harassment, nutrition, mental health, and safety issues are also covered.  
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Volunteers in Jamaica do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi.  
  
===Safety Training ===
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Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer may be asked to drive a host agency’s vehicle, but this can occur only with prior written permission of the Country Director. Should this occur, the Volunteer may obtain a local driver’s license. A U.S. driver’s license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.
  
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.  
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:You can drive a rental vehicle with a US Driver's License.  There's a law regarding how long you can live in Jamaica before you must use an IDL or Jamaican DL when driving, and this is when creative descriptions come in handy.  Volunteers are of course forbidden from driving without the CD's permission, though when on vacation on-island this is a bit hazy.  It's often safer for the volunteer, versed in the Jamaican road system, driving on the left, and honk-communication, than it is for a visitor.
  
===Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service ===
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===What should I bring as gifts for Jamaican friends and my host family? ===
  
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continuous opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills.  
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This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient.  Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.  
  
During your service, there are usually two training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
* In-Service Training (IST): Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment to the Peace Corps. The first IST will take place during the first three months of service. The second will occur later during the first year of service. Volunteers also attend An IST in their second year.  
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You will be advised of your assignment during pre-service training and have the opportunity to visit your prospective site. However, final placements will not be made until the end of pre-service training so the Peace Corps staff can do a formal assessment of each trainee prior to finalizing site assignments. If feasible, you will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require a three-to-four-hour drive from Kingston. There is at least one Volunteer based in each of the regional capitals. For safety and security reasons, Peace Corps/Jamaica does not allow placement of Volunteers in the Kingston metropolitan area nor in Spanish Town.  
* Close-of-Service Conference: Prepares Volunteers for
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the future after Peace Corps service, and reviews Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences.  
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The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
[[Category:Togo]]
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The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2500.
[[Category:Training|Togo]]
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===Can I call home from Jamaica? ===
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Overseas collect calls can be made through Sprint, MCI, and AT&T. In addition, the local telephone company, Cable and Wireless Jamaica, sells prepaid calling cards called “World Talk,” through distribution centers islandwide. Once you become a Volunteer and acquire a telephone at your site, there may be cable and wireless options.
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In addition, all PCVs are now provided with cell phones from Digicel, a local wireless provider.  You can call internationally for about $20 J a minute, or about $0.25 U.S.  There are also plans where you pay $1000 J for 1000 minutes to be used internationally in 30 days.  With this plan it is actually cheaper to call home than it is to call your Jamaican neighbour.
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
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Cell phones are now provided by the Peace Corps, and all PCVs and staff are on the same Closed User Group (CUG), and can thus make and receive calls and texts to each other for free.  Digicel, the wireless provider used by the Peace Corps, has excellent coverage over almost the entire island.  Credit is added with phone cards sold in almost every shop you can find, and all incoming calls (local and international) are free.  If you choose to bring or buy your own phone, or loose your phone and need to purchase a new one, cheap and rugged Nokia phones are available for about $20 U.S.  You can bring your own phone if you choose, but the plan would probably be prohibitively expensive.  With the digicel international plan, you can have almost 17 hours of international minutes a month for about $12 U.S.  You could bring your own unlocked blackberry or other Sim-card based phone, however keep in mind this may target you for theft.
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
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You can and should bring a laptop with you for personal and work use, but you should get it insured.  Nothing fancy is necessary, many volunteers use netbooks, small lightweight laptops with no cd/dvd drive, good battery life, and a low cost (around $300.)  These can be bought in country, however are expensive and the selection is lower.  There is little support for Macs here, even in Kingston, so be aware that service will be hard to come by if any issues arise with your mac.
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Internet access varies by site.  Some volunteer's host families have cable TV and internet, while other PCVs must travel over an hour to the nearest internet cafe.  In that type of situation, it is best to bring a usb flash drive and download all emails and information you will need (to save internet time,) and draft emails at home. 
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Be sure to have good, thorough antivirus software on your computer.  Avast, AVG, and windows security are all excellent free virus applications.  Just make sure you use them with vigilance.  Every computer in Jamaica has a virus.  I used a brand new, just opened flash drive on a work pc (with virus software), put it on my laptop and detected several viruses.
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[[Category:Jamaica]]

Latest revision as of 11:56, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Jamaica?[edit]

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits.

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

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets,weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Jamaica?[edit]

It is 110 volts, 50 cycles, the same as in the United States.

How much money should I bring?[edit]

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?[edit]

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your Country Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Though in cases of emergency, rules can be bent. I had a friend visiting when a Cat-5 hurricane came at us, and smuggled her in to our consolidation point. A good rule, at least while I was there (the CD is different now), was don't ask, just do. Asking will get a "No," while doing often got commended. Hopefully the new CD is a bit more predictable? 207.172.94.91 06:06, 13 July 2007 (PDT)

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?[edit]

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

Clements Insurance offers a package specifically for Peace Corps volunteers. Many volunteers loose items such as cameras or laptops to damage or theft, so this could be a good investment. A good rule of thumb however is to put yourself in the mentality that everything you bring to Jamaica will stay in Jamaica. This means do not bring any irreplaceable jewelry or other items, and be open to the possibility that your items may be stolen, or that you may choose to leave them with your community when you depart.

Do I need an international driver’s license?[edit]

Volunteers in Jamaica do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi.

Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer may be asked to drive a host agency’s vehicle, but this can occur only with prior written permission of the Country Director. Should this occur, the Volunteer may obtain a local driver’s license. A U.S. driver’s license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.

You can drive a rental vehicle with a US Driver's License. There's a law regarding how long you can live in Jamaica before you must use an IDL or Jamaican DL when driving, and this is when creative descriptions come in handy. Volunteers are of course forbidden from driving without the CD's permission, though when on vacation on-island this is a bit hazy. It's often safer for the volunteer, versed in the Jamaican road system, driving on the left, and honk-communication, than it is for a visitor.

What should I bring as gifts for Jamaican friends and my host family?[edit]

This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

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

You will be advised of your assignment during pre-service training and have the opportunity to visit your prospective site. However, final placements will not be made until the end of pre-service training so the Peace Corps staff can do a formal assessment of each trainee prior to finalizing site assignments. If feasible, you will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require a three-to-four-hour drive from Kingston. There is at least one Volunteer based in each of the regional capitals. For safety and security reasons, Peace Corps/Jamaica does not allow placement of Volunteers in the Kingston metropolitan area nor in Spanish Town.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?[edit]

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2500.

Can I call home from Jamaica?[edit]

Overseas collect calls can be made through Sprint, MCI, and AT&T. In addition, the local telephone company, Cable and Wireless Jamaica, sells prepaid calling cards called “World Talk,” through distribution centers islandwide. Once you become a Volunteer and acquire a telephone at your site, there may be cable and wireless options.

In addition, all PCVs are now provided with cell phones from Digicel, a local wireless provider. You can call internationally for about $20 J a minute, or about $0.25 U.S. There are also plans where you pay $1000 J for 1000 minutes to be used internationally in 30 days. With this plan it is actually cheaper to call home than it is to call your Jamaican neighbour.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?[edit]

Cell phones are now provided by the Peace Corps, and all PCVs and staff are on the same Closed User Group (CUG), and can thus make and receive calls and texts to each other for free. Digicel, the wireless provider used by the Peace Corps, has excellent coverage over almost the entire island. Credit is added with phone cards sold in almost every shop you can find, and all incoming calls (local and international) are free. If you choose to bring or buy your own phone, or loose your phone and need to purchase a new one, cheap and rugged Nokia phones are available for about $20 U.S. You can bring your own phone if you choose, but the plan would probably be prohibitively expensive. With the digicel international plan, you can have almost 17 hours of international minutes a month for about $12 U.S. You could bring your own unlocked blackberry or other Sim-card based phone, however keep in mind this may target you for theft.

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

You can and should bring a laptop with you for personal and work use, but you should get it insured. Nothing fancy is necessary, many volunteers use netbooks, small lightweight laptops with no cd/dvd drive, good battery life, and a low cost (around $300.) These can be bought in country, however are expensive and the selection is lower. There is little support for Macs here, even in Kingston, so be aware that service will be hard to come by if any issues arise with your mac.

Internet access varies by site. Some volunteer's host families have cable TV and internet, while other PCVs must travel over an hour to the nearest internet cafe. In that type of situation, it is best to bring a usb flash drive and download all emails and information you will need (to save internet time,) and draft emails at home.

Be sure to have good, thorough antivirus software on your computer. Avast, AVG, and windows security are all excellent free virus applications. Just make sure you use them with vigilance. Every computer in Jamaica has a virus. I used a brand new, just opened flash drive on a work pc (with virus software), put it on my laptop and detected several viruses.