Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Macedonia

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===Communications ===
===Communications ===
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===Mail ===
===Mail ===
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Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service expected in the United States. If you expect U.S. standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Mail takes a minimum of 10 days to arrive in Macedonia if sent by airmail. Packages sent by surface mail can take up to three or four months. 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). Tell your correspondents to number their letters and to include “Airmail” on their envelopes.  
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Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you anticipate U.S. standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Mail generally takes two to four weeks to get to N’Djamena from the United States, and a week or so more to get to Volunteer sites. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent j.j
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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.  If a serious problem were to occur, Peace Corps/Macedonia would notify the Office of Special Services at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, which would then contact your family.
 
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Your address during training will be:
 
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[Your Name]
 
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Miroven Korpus
 
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Oslo 6
 
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1000 Skopje
 
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REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
 
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===Telephones ===
 
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Telephone service in Macedonia is generally good. If your residence does not have a phone and you would like one, the Peace Corps will have one installed for safety and security purposes and will cover the basic monthly service fee; any additional calls will be the Volunteer’s responsibility.  Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a cellphone. Cellphones are the primary means of communication between you and the Peace Corps office in Skopje, so in reality they are a requirement. Most Volunteers opt to purchase “prepaid” service, however buying a two-year contract may be a better option. The monthly phone allowance from Peace Corps includes money for a cellphone. Most homes do not have landlines and are not necessary. Cell service in Macedonia is some of the best in Europe and used by almost everyone of all ages. If the cellphone you are using in America has a SIM card you may be able to use the phone in Macedonia, bring it with you it is worth a try.
 
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Long-distance calls outside Macedonia can be quite expensive.  Services such as AT&T permit collect calls to be made from Macedonia to America. The AT&T access number when calling from Macedonia is 00.800.4288. AT&T calling cards can also be used, and it may be possible to connect to a call-back service. SKYPE and Tango are the preferred methods of communication inside and outside of Macedonia. You should arrange to have these services before you leave home and encourage family and friends you want to communicate with to subscribe to them as well.
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Almost all communities of reasonable size have post offices (look for the yellow signs that say “PTT”) that provide telephone services as well as postal services.
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Advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to include “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.poop Also let them know that the Peace Corps has no control over the international mail system.  
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===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
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During training, people can send letters and packages to you at the following address:
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If you choose to bring a laptop computer and related equipment, note that the Peace Corps does not provide e-mail accounts or technical and repair support for Volunteers. While many Volunteers find computers a must, especially laptops, the Peace Corps does not consider them to be an essential item and will not replace them in the case of loss or theft.  Peace Corps volunteers in Macedonia highly recommend bringing a laptop. If you do bring computer equipment, insurance is recommended.
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PCT, “Your Name”
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Some, but not all, Volunteers have access to computers at their work sites, which may or may not have Internet and e-mail capabilities. Such equipment, however, is intended to be used primarily for work-related activities, and you should not assume that it can be used for personal purposes. Internet, including wireless, and e-mail access is available throughout Macedonia, and Internet cafes can be found in most major cities and towns.
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Corps de la Paix
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===Housing and Site Location ===
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B.P. 1323
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Housing must adhere to Peace Corps-defined standards for living conditions, safety and security and the Peace Corps staff visits all proposed living arrangements to evaluate their suitability. As of 2013 all new arriving Volunteers will be required to live in a home-stay environment.  Be prepared to live with a family, regardless of your age or situation. Living conditions range from a small bedroom to a floor below or above the host family's living area.
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N’Djamena, Chad
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Volunteers should be prepared to serve in any region of Macedonia from a small village of 50 people to the capitol Skopje.
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Central Africa
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
 
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You will receive a monthly living allowance that is designed to enable you to maintain a modest lifestyle. This allowance is deposited in your bank account in denars every month and is intended to cover food, household supplies, local transportation, recreation, entertainment, and incidental expenses such as postage, film, reading material, stationery, 15 hours of Internet use per month, and toiletries. Rent and basic utilities are paid for by Peace Corps.
 
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Lifestyles are different here than in the States, but most Volunteers who adopt a Macedonian lifestyle find their living allowance to be sufficient for their needs. In other words, the lifestyle you adopt while serving in Macedonia will largely determine the adequacy of the living allowance. If you choose to eat in restaurants daily, make long and numerous phone calls to friends and family in the United States, spend weekends visiting other Volunteers around the country, and insist on imported toiletries, foods, and other consumables, you are not likely to be able to survive very well on your living allowance. You may also have a harder time becoming a part of your community. If, instead, you adopt a more typical Macedonian lifestyle, your living allowance should be more than adequate.
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Once you are at your site, letters can be mailed directly to your address there. Note that in the event of a serious problem, Peace Corps/Chad would notify the Office of Special
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The Peace Corps also provides a one-time settling-in allowance (approximately equivalent to $110 in denars) that will help you set up your home. It is meant to cover basic household items such as dishes, towels, sheets, and the like.
 
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The exchange rate at the time of this writing is 48 denars to the U.S. dollar. Traveler’s checks and credit cards can be used in some locations in Skopje, particularly those that cater to tourists. ATMs are currently available in Skopje and Ohrid, and many larger cities. However, Volunteers who live in communities outside Skopje will make almost all of their financial transactions in Macedonia through bank transfers or in cash. A few large banks exist throughout Macedonia where Volunteers can open accounts into which their living allowance will be deposited. All Volunteer accounts are nonresident accounts and can maintain separate balances for local currency, U.S. dollars, euros, etc. Some Volunteers have found it useful to retain their checking accounts in the United States to pay bills in the U.S. or to access U.S. funds. Hard currencies such as dollars and euros should only be changed at banks and legal change bureaus; changing money on the street is illegal.
 
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===Food and Diet ===
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Services at the Peace Corps’ headquarters in Washington, which would then contact your family. Advise your family that in the case of a family emergency, they should also contact the Office of Special Services. During normal business hours, the number of the office is 800.424.8580; select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574.
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You will not find many frozen or prepared foods in Macedonia, but a wide variety of delicious fresh food is always available if you know how to cook. “Homemade” is the best word to describe the fare on a Macedonian dining table. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, onions, garlic, meat (pork, chicken, lamb, beef) and oil are staples in Macedonian cooking. The meat most often found in restaurants and shops is pork, though chicken and fresh fish are also availableSirenje and kashkaval (two types of cheese), eggs, milk, and yogurt (not the typical U.S. supermarket-style yogurt) are also a regular part of the Macedonian diet.  
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===Telephones ===
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Local telephone service is unreliable and expensive. You can generally arrange for your family to call you once you learn where you will be posted, depending on your location in the country. Chad is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (five hours ahead of Daylight Savings Time).
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This be fake so please do not get info from here its all wrong;)
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===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
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You can access the Internet at cybercafes in N’Djamena.  Internet access in other large towns, however, is unreliable because of the quality of telephone lines. The Peace Corps office has a limited number of computers available for work-related use by Volunteers. Adjusting to life in Chad will be significantly easier if you begin preparing yourself, your friends, and your family for sporadic and infrequent communication by Internet or telephone.
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===Housing and Site Location ===
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The ministry you will be working for, in collaboration with Peace Corps staff, decides where you will be posted. Members of Peace Corps/Chad staff review proposed sites for appropriateness, safety, and security. You are unlikely to know your post until the last few weeks of pre-service training because staff members need time to evaluate work sites and get to know each trainee individually before making placement decisions.  
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Sites range from large administrative towns to small villages.  Peace Corps/Chad arranges for housing, relying on the resources available in each community. It tries to ensure that Volunteers have lodging that allows for independence and privacy, but you have to be flexible in your housing expectations. You may be lodged in a small, one-room hut within a family’s compound. Your house may have walls made of concrete or mud bricks and a tin or thatched roof. A typical Volunteer house consists of a sitting room, a bedroom, and a cooking area. Some houses have inside toilets and shower areas while others have nearby pit latrines. You probably will not have running water and electricity, which means that your water will come from a well or river and that you will spend your evenings reading by a candle or lantern.
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
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The local currency is the CFA franc (for Communauté financière de l’Afrique, or African Financial Community), whose exchange rate is about 500 CFA to the U.S. dollar. You will receive a monthly living allowance to cover the cost of living simply but adequately while serving in Chad. The living allowance covers the cost of utilities, domestic help, household supplies, clothing, food, work-related transport and supplies, and modest entertainment and recreation expensesIn addition, you will receive $24 each month as a vacation allowance and additional money to pay for transportation and lodging on official trips (i.e., trips made at the request of the Peace Corps).
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After you are sworn in as a Volunteer, you will get a one-time settling-in allowance to purchase household items such as furniture and kitchen supplies. The amount is based on a survey of Volunteer expenses. Volunteers are encouraged to purchase items that are available locally and to restrict their purchases to genuine needs. In all cases, equipment and furnishings should be consistent with local usage. The Peace Corps will provide a mountain bike and helmet, if one is required for your work; a mosquito net; and a water filter.  
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===Food and Diet ===
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Vegetarians will not have difficulty maintaining a healthy diet if they cook at home. Lentils, processed tofu, beans, and rice are widely available, as are peanuts and other kinds of nuts. Eating out in a restaurant may be a little more difficult, since most of the menu will consist of meat dishes. You will never go wrong ordering a salad, tavche gravche (the traditional bean dish), and bread. You will even find vegetarian pizza at most pizzerias.
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Drinking water needs to be boiled or filtered. Fruits and vegetables are somewhat limited, with only one or two local fruits or vegetables available in any given season. Local lettuce, green peppers, okra, and tomatoes are available almost year-round. Fruits like oranges, pineapples, and bananas are imported from Cameroon.  
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Along with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits are plentiful in season. Southeastern Macedonia is widely known for the production of fruits and vegetables. If you are not inclined to make your own juice and jam from these, these products are always available in local stores. It might be a good idea to learn to make a few of your favorite dishes before you move to your site, and you might want to bring the recipe for your favorite spaghetti sauce from home. Spaghetti can be purchased easily here, but you will have to make your own sauce.
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Chadian meals are simple but tasty and nutritious. A typical meal in the northern part of the country consists of a staple food like millet or sorghum served with meat sauce made from beef or sheep. In the south, the staple food is sorghum, rice, or maize served with a fish or meat sauce.  
===Transportation ===
===Transportation ===
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Macedonia has a large network of bus and train routes, which makes it possible to travel to practically all destinations by public transportation. A few previous Volunteers have experienced thefts while traveling. As you would anywhere else, you must be vigilant in protecting your valuables while using public transportation.  
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Air travel within Chad is possible via two private charter agencies, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and the Esso oil company. Air Chad, the national airline, ceased operations in 1999.
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Railway services have never existed in Chad. The most common means of transport in Chad are privately owned trucks, minibuses, and a variety of four-wheel-drive vehicles, all of which are used to haul everything from livestock to people (frequently together). Chad has only 310 miles (500 kilometers) of paved road, so travel from one point to another—particularly in the rainy season—usually takes considerable time.  
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Because of safety and security concerns, Volunteers are not allowed to own or drive any type of motorized vehicle (including motorcycles) in Chad. The only exception to this rule is in the event of a life-, limb-, or sight-threatening emergency involving a Volunteer.  
===Geography and Climate ===
===Geography and Climate ===
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Macedonia is influenced by a Mediterranean and Continental climate with four distinct seasons. As in the United States, weather patterns have been changing in recent years, so it is difficult to describe a “typical” year. July and August can be very hot and dry, with temperatures staying in the 90- to 100degree Fahrenheit range for a two-week period or longer. In the winter, the whole country can be blanketed in snow, with more snow in the north than in the south. Long underwear, winter boots, and a warm coat are necessities because of the inconsistency of heating. Because of the scarcity of air conditioning, comfortable, lightweight clothing is important for the summer months.  
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Landlocked Chad borders Libya in the north, Sudan in the east, the Central African Republic in the south, and Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger in the West. It has an area of 485,600 square miles. Because of the desert climate of the Sahel in the northern two-thirds of the country, Chad’s population, estimated at just over 9.5 million in 2004, resides mainly in the south. Seventy-seven percent of the population lives in rural areas (in clusters of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants) as subsistence farmers or herders. The capital, N'Djamena, is home to approximately 700,000 people; other major cities include Sarh (50,000) and Moundou (75,000) in the south, and Abéché (35,000) in the north.  
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Chad has three seasons: rainy, hot, and cool. During the rainy season from June to October, the temperature ranges between 75 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit with relatively high humidity. The dry, cool season extends from November to February, when temperatures range from 60 to 100 degrees. During the hot season from March to June, daily temperatures exceed 110 and rarely drop lower than 90 degrees, and humidity gradually rises as the rains approach.  
===Social Activities ===
===Social Activities ===
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You will find no shortage of entertainment opportunities during your stay in Macedonia. There are museums, concerts, theaters, athletic events, hot springs, outdoor markets, historical and ethnographic centers, coffee shops, bars, discos, and cinemas for you to enjoy. Most recently released American films are shown in theaters in English with Macedonian subtitles.
 
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Macedonia boasts some of the most magnificent natural areas in eastern Europe, with a great diversity of flora and fauna. Opportunities for outdoor recreation include hiking, camping, rock climbing, and bird-watching. During the summer, Macedonians flock to Lake Ohrid to enjoy its pristine waters and beautiful scenery. During the winter, Macedonia’s several ski resorts attract skiers from all over Europe.
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Social activities vary according to where you are located and range from sitting and talking with friends and neighbors to going to the market to taking part in local festivals. The cultural diversity of Chad means that there is always something of interest going on in the village that you can learn from, be it drumming and dancing or planting peanuts.
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Forming relationships with members of a community is both challenging and gratifying. Chadians are hospitable and generous, and their extended family structure results in an open-door policy and a welcoming attitude to visitors. Demonstrating an interest in the local culture greatly speeds the integration process and helps you establish credibility as a member of the community. The most satisfied Volunteers integrate into their communities—eat the local food, speak the local language, and attend important village ceremonies such as baptisms, funerals, and marriages—while maintaining a good sense of who they are as individuals. Although the majority of social activities occur in their village or community, Volunteers also form a tightknit community and do a good share of socializing at provincial or national meetings and on certain holidays.  
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
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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 working as a professional. It is not an easy situation to resolve, and we can only provide you with general guidelines. While there is no hard-andfast rule, a foreigner who wears ragged or dirty clothing is likely to be considered disrespectful and possibly unreliable.  Improper attire creates difficulties in gaining the respect and acceptance of your Macedonian and Albanian colleagues. You will have occasions to dress up regularly, so bring some more formal attire in addition to professional clothes appropriate for everyday wear in the office or classroom. Think business casual.  
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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. You will be working as a representative of a Chadian government ministry or a professional nongovernmental organization (NGO) and as such you will be expected to dress and behave accordingly.  
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===Personal Safety ==
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Your Chadian co-workers will generally dress very well and will expect you to dress appropriately too. Being neat and cleanly dressed is a sign of respect and pride. A foreigner who wears unkempt or old clothes is likely to be considered an affront. Trousers (for men, and women in some regions), blouses/shirts, skirts (below the knee), and dresses are appropriate wear for work. Wearing shorts, halter tops, short skirts, form-fitting or low-cut blouses, military attire, or dirty or torn clothing in public is not appropriate.
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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 Macedonia Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security 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 Macedonia. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.  
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The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a way that will foster respect within their community and reflect well on the Peace Corps and on citizens of the United States. You will receive an orientation to appropriate behavior and cultural sensitivity during pre-service training. As a Volunteer, you have the status of an invited guest and thus must be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.  
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
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===Personal Safety ===
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Although the potential for job satisfaction in Macedonia is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Because of financial or other challenges, collaborating agencies may not always provide the support they have agreed to. The pace of work and life here is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to, and the local people may be hesitant to change long-held practices and traditions.  
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More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the “Health Care and Safety” chapter of this Welcome Book, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. 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 Chad Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security 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 Chad. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.  
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
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Volunteers are often given a high degree of responsibility and independence in their work, perhaps more than they have experienced in other jobs. Volunteers often find themselves in situations that require an ability to be self-motivated with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving any feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. Positive progress more often comes after the combined efforts of several Volunteers over the course of many years. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.  
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Although the potential for job satisfaction in Chad is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Collaborating agencies are not always able to provide Volunteers the ideal degree of support. In addition, the pace of work and life is much slower than what most Americans are accustomed to. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.  
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To overcome these difficulties you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness.  
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You will be given a high degree of independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. Depending on how you approach your work, you are also likely to have a great deal of responsibility. You will often find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development anywhere in the world—including disadvantaged areas in the United States—is slow work that requires perseverance. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.  
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Macedonians are warm, friendly, hospitable people, and 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 Macedonia 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.  
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To overcome these difficulties you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. The Peace Corps/Chad staff, your Chadian friends, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.  
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[[Category:Macedonia]]
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[[Category:Chad]]
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'''Bold text'''

Revision as of 22:32, 10 September 2013



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Macedonia
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.
See also:

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

For information see Welcomebooks

Flag of Macedonia.svg


Contents

Communications

Mail

Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you anticipate U.S. standards for mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Mail generally takes two to four weeks to get to N’Djamena from the United States, and a week or so more to get to Volunteer sites. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent j.j







Advise your family and friends to number their letters for tracking purposes and to include “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.poop Also let them know that the Peace Corps has no control over the international mail system.

During training, people can send letters and packages to you at the following address:

PCT, “Your Name”

Corps de la Paix

B.P. 1323

N’Djamena, Chad

Central Africa


Once you are at your site, letters can be mailed directly to your address there. Note that in the event of a serious problem, Peace Corps/Chad would notify the Office of Special


Services at the Peace Corps’ headquarters in Washington, which would then contact your family. Advise your family that in the case of a family emergency, they should also contact the Office of Special Services. During normal business hours, the number of the office is 800.424.8580; select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574.

Telephones

Local telephone service is unreliable and expensive. You can generally arrange for your family to call you once you learn where you will be posted, depending on your location in the country. Chad is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (five hours ahead of Daylight Savings Time). This be fake so please do not get info from here its all wrong;)

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

You can access the Internet at cybercafes in N’Djamena. Internet access in other large towns, however, is unreliable because of the quality of telephone lines. The Peace Corps office has a limited number of computers available for work-related use by Volunteers. Adjusting to life in Chad will be significantly easier if you begin preparing yourself, your friends, and your family for sporadic and infrequent communication by Internet or telephone.

Housing and Site Location

The ministry you will be working for, in collaboration with Peace Corps staff, decides where you will be posted. Members of Peace Corps/Chad staff review proposed sites for appropriateness, safety, and security. You are unlikely to know your post until the last few weeks of pre-service training because staff members need time to evaluate work sites and get to know each trainee individually before making placement decisions.

Sites range from large administrative towns to small villages. Peace Corps/Chad arranges for housing, relying on the resources available in each community. It tries to ensure that Volunteers have lodging that allows for independence and privacy, but you have to be flexible in your housing expectations. You may be lodged in a small, one-room hut within a family’s compound. Your house may have walls made of concrete or mud bricks and a tin or thatched roof. A typical Volunteer house consists of a sitting room, a bedroom, and a cooking area. Some houses have inside toilets and shower areas while others have nearby pit latrines. You probably will not have running water and electricity, which means that your water will come from a well or river and that you will spend your evenings reading by a candle or lantern.

Living Allowance and Money Management

The local currency is the CFA franc (for Communauté financière de l’Afrique, or African Financial Community), whose exchange rate is about 500 CFA to the U.S. dollar. You will receive a monthly living allowance to cover the cost of living simply but adequately while serving in Chad. The living allowance covers the cost of utilities, domestic help, household supplies, clothing, food, work-related transport and supplies, and modest entertainment and recreation expenses. In addition, you will receive $24 each month as a vacation allowance and additional money to pay for transportation and lodging on official trips (i.e., trips made at the request of the Peace Corps).

After you are sworn in as a Volunteer, you will get a one-time settling-in allowance to purchase household items such as furniture and kitchen supplies. The amount is based on a survey of Volunteer expenses. Volunteers are encouraged to purchase items that are available locally and to restrict their purchases to genuine needs. In all cases, equipment and furnishings should be consistent with local usage. The Peace Corps will provide a mountain bike and helmet, if one is required for your work; a mosquito net; and a water filter.

Food and Diet

Drinking water needs to be boiled or filtered. Fruits and vegetables are somewhat limited, with only one or two local fruits or vegetables available in any given season. Local lettuce, green peppers, okra, and tomatoes are available almost year-round. Fruits like oranges, pineapples, and bananas are imported from Cameroon.

Chadian meals are simple but tasty and nutritious. A typical meal in the northern part of the country consists of a staple food like millet or sorghum served with meat sauce made from beef or sheep. In the south, the staple food is sorghum, rice, or maize served with a fish or meat sauce.

Transportation

Air travel within Chad is possible via two private charter agencies, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and the Esso oil company. Air Chad, the national airline, ceased operations in 1999.

Railway services have never existed in Chad. The most common means of transport in Chad are privately owned trucks, minibuses, and a variety of four-wheel-drive vehicles, all of which are used to haul everything from livestock to people (frequently together). Chad has only 310 miles (500 kilometers) of paved road, so travel from one point to another—particularly in the rainy season—usually takes considerable time.

Because of safety and security concerns, Volunteers are not allowed to own or drive any type of motorized vehicle (including motorcycles) in Chad. The only exception to this rule is in the event of a life-, limb-, or sight-threatening emergency involving a Volunteer.

Geography and Climate

Landlocked Chad borders Libya in the north, Sudan in the east, the Central African Republic in the south, and Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger in the West. It has an area of 485,600 square miles. Because of the desert climate of the Sahel in the northern two-thirds of the country, Chad’s population, estimated at just over 9.5 million in 2004, resides mainly in the south. Seventy-seven percent of the population lives in rural areas (in clusters of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants) as subsistence farmers or herders. The capital, N'Djamena, is home to approximately 700,000 people; other major cities include Sarh (50,000) and Moundou (75,000) in the south, and Abéché (35,000) in the north.

Chad has three seasons: rainy, hot, and cool. During the rainy season from June to October, the temperature ranges between 75 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit with relatively high humidity. The dry, cool season extends from November to February, when temperatures range from 60 to 100 degrees. During the hot season from March to June, daily temperatures exceed 110 and rarely drop lower than 90 degrees, and humidity gradually rises as the rains approach.

Social Activities

Social activities vary according to where you are located and range from sitting and talking with friends and neighbors to going to the market to taking part in local festivals. The cultural diversity of Chad means that there is always something of interest going on in the village that you can learn from, be it drumming and dancing or planting peanuts.

Forming relationships with members of a community is both challenging and gratifying. Chadians are hospitable and generous, and their extended family structure results in an open-door policy and a welcoming attitude to visitors. Demonstrating an interest in the local culture greatly speeds the integration process and helps you establish credibility as a member of the community. The most satisfied Volunteers integrate into their communities—eat the local food, speak the local language, and attend important village ceremonies such as baptisms, funerals, and marriages—while maintaining a good sense of who they are as individuals. Although the majority of social activities occur in their village or community, Volunteers also form a tightknit community and do a good share of socializing at provincial or national meetings and on certain holidays.

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. You will be working as a representative of a Chadian government ministry or a professional nongovernmental organization (NGO) and as such you will be expected to dress and behave accordingly.

Your Chadian co-workers will generally dress very well and will expect you to dress appropriately too. Being neat and cleanly dressed is a sign of respect and pride. A foreigner who wears unkempt or old clothes is likely to be considered an affront. Trousers (for men, and women in some regions), blouses/shirts, skirts (below the knee), and dresses are appropriate wear for work. Wearing shorts, halter tops, short skirts, form-fitting or low-cut blouses, military attire, or dirty or torn clothing in public is not appropriate.

The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a way that will foster respect within their community and reflect well on the Peace Corps and on citizens of the United States. You will receive an orientation to appropriate behavior and cultural sensitivity during pre-service training. As a Volunteer, you have the status of an invited guest and thus must be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.

Personal Safety

More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the “Health Care and Safety” chapter of this Welcome Book, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. 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 Chad Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security 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 Chad. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

Although the potential for job satisfaction in Chad is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. Collaborating agencies are not always able to provide Volunteers the ideal degree of support. In addition, the pace of work and life is much slower than what most Americans are accustomed to. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.

You will be given a high degree of independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. Depending on how you approach your work, you are also likely to have a great deal of responsibility. You will often find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development anywhere in the world—including disadvantaged areas in the United States—is slow work that requires perseverance. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.

To overcome these difficulties you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. The Peace Corps/Chad staff, your Chadian friends, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer. Bold text

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