Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Ecuador" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Mozambique"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (1 revision imported)
 
m (added FAQs by country template)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
+
{{FAQs by country}}
  
  
===Communications===
 
  
  
 +
===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Mozambique? ===
  
====Mail====
+
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance.  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 authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches.  Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.
  
Until you have your own address, you can receive mail at Peace Corps/Ecuador’s post office box:
+
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.
  
“Your Name,” PCV (for Volunteer) or PCT (for trainee)
+
===What is the electric current in Mozambique? ===
  
Cuerpo de Paz
+
The electric current is 220 volts, 50 cycles. If you bring any American-manufactured electrical items with you, a small power converter set (with plug adapters and a transformer) will be necessary. Many Volunteers do not have electricity in their homes, some have electricity for a few hours a day and others have it 24 hours a day. Some Volunteers live at sites that are prone to occasional power outages of a few hours or a few days. Some Volunteers find it useful to bring a solar battery charger and batteries. Almost all sites have at least one place in town with access to electricity or a generator for light, cold beverages, and so on.
  
Casilla 17-08-8624
+
===How much money should I bring? ===
  
Quito, Ecuador
+
Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance to set up a home, a monthly living allowance to cover living expenses, a travel allowance for occasional business trips to the Peace Corps office in Maputo, and a leave allowance of $24 for every month of service. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel inside Mozambique and to other countries. Credit cards are preferable to cash and traveler’s checks. Volunteers are also given the option to place money, credit cards and other valuables in the Peace Corps safe for safekeeping.
  
South America
+
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
 +
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. Volunteers assigned to schools must schedule vacation in accordance with the school calendar, which consists of breaks of approximately two weeks in June, one week in September, and one week in April. The actual dates of these breaks are determined at the beginning of each school year in February. The school summer vacation is from mid-December to late January.
  
 +
Health Volunteers must take leave according to their host organizations’ activity schedules and their personal work schedules as agreed by their supervisors. Most NGOs and government institutions close completely or slow down their activities from mid December to mid January, so this is typically a good time to plan for annual leave.
  
It takes a week to 10 days for a letter from the United States to reach the Peace Corps office by international mail. Once you are living at your assigned site, mail may take from two to four weeks to reach you.  
+
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 the Country Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.  
  
Receiving packages through international mail can be difficult, since all packages must go through Ecuadorian customs and you may have to make a special trip to Quito to pick up the package. All packages are opened by customs, and there is usually a significant customs charge. If the package contains items that may not be imported, like chocolates, customs officials may confiscate the items. Although some Volunteers have received small packages at their sites without having the packages pass through customs, this method is unpredictable.
+
===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
Many Volunteers have had luck receiving items sent in padded envelopes. We therefore recommend that families and friends send only small items and try to keep the weight of any packages under two kilos (4.4 pounds), clearly marking the contents. They should not send anything via couriers such as DHL and Federal Express, which are more expensive than the Postal Service.  
+
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.  
  
Peace Corps regulations prohibit Volunteers from accepting gifts of property, money, or voluntary services directly. Such gifts can cause confusion about the role of the Volunteer, who might be perceived as a facilitator of goods and funding, rather than as a person who is working to build a community’s capacity to identify local resources. You are not permitted to solicit materials or funds for your community during your first six months at site. This allows you time to understand the developmental needs of the community and begin to engage the community in project identification. To ensure that any request for funding or donations is appropriate for your project and your community, you must have prior authorization from your project director and country director.
+
===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
The Peace Corps has a mechanism in place for you and the communities you work with to access U.S. private-sector funds. The Peace Corps Partnership Program, administered by the Office of Private Sector Initiatives, can help you obtain financial support from corporations, foundations, civic groups, individuals, faith-based groups, and schools for projects approved by the country director. To learn more about the Partnership Program, call 800.424.8580 (extension 2170); e-mail pcpp@peacecorps.gov; or visit www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.  volproj.  
+
Volunteers in Mozambique do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles.  
  
====Telephones====
+
===What should I bring as gifts for Mozambican friends and my host family? ===
  
Peace Corps/Ecuador’s office is located at the following address: Av. Granda Centeno # OE 4-250, y Baron de Carondelet, Quito, Ecuador. The telephone numbers of the office are 227.6300, 227.2824, 245.5007, or 800.723.282 (tollfree only within Ecuador); the fax number is 227.3763.  
+
While providing small gifts is not required, sometimes it is nice to give something small and inexpensive as a token of friendship and thanks. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; picture frames; souvenirs from your area; small toys for children; or photos to give away.  
  
To use these numbers from the United States, you must first dial 011 for access to the international network, 593 for Ecuador (country code), and 2 for Quito. Note that after regular business hours and on weekends and holidays, the person answering the phone is not likely to speak English.
+
===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
To reach you in an emergency, your family should call the Office of Special Services at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., at 800.424.8580, extension 1470 (or 202.638.2574 during non-business hours). The Office of Special Services will then contact Peace Corps/Ecuador.  
+
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until the third month of pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts.  
  
====Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access====
+
If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including availability of meat or vegetables, living alone or with a housemate, distance from other Volunteers, and distance from the capital. Health Volunteers may be asked whether or not they would prefer to work for an international, national, community-based, or faith-based organization and education Volunteers may be asked which grade levels they would prefer to teach. 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 rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites are a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital; others require a flight from a provincial capital to reach Maputo.
  
Because Ecuador is a popular tourist destination, there are Internet cafes throughout the country. Almost all Volunteers in Ecuador have e-mail addresses and, except for those posted to the most remote sites, are able to check e-mail and access the Internet at least once a month. In addition, computers with Internet access are available for Volunteers to use at the Peace Corps office in Quito.
+
===How can my family contact me in an emergency?===
  
===Housing and Site Location===
+
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should 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 non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.
  
All Volunteer housing is reviewed and approved by Peace Corps staff prior to occupancy. Some Volunteers live with a family for a month or so when they first move to their sites.  This helps Volunteers get to know the community better before making a permanent housing decision. Volunteers in the youth and families project work in marginal urban neighborhoods and almost all are required to live with a family during their entire two years of service. For reasons of safety, security, and cultural integration, the Peace Corps recommends that Volunteers in all projects consider living with a host family.
+
===Can I call home from Mozambique? ===
  
Housing varies greatly by site. Most Volunteers live and work in rural communities, but a few work in urban settings. Some live in buildings with up-to-date plumbing and electrical systems. Others may have a small adobe house with a pit latrine in the back and one or two bare light bulbs for illumination. A few Volunteers live in very isolated sites without electricity or running water.  
+
International phone service in Mozambique, while fairly good by African standards, is less reliable than that in the United States. Placing a call through an operator can take an hour or longer. Calling card service to and from Mozambique is not yet available, and collect calls are also difficult to make.  
  
Volunteer sites are located throughout the country but generally are clustered in several regions so that Volunteers from all four project areas and from older and newer groups are located relatively close to one another. In most cases, you will be located, at most, within two or three hours of other Volunteers. There are some areas of the country where the Peace Corps does not place any Volunteers, either because the level of development is such that Volunteers are no longer needed or because of safety and security concerns (e.g., the jungle regions on the Colombian border).  
+
Calls to the United States are very expensive, ranging from $3 per minute for a direct call to $8 per minute for a call through an operator or from a hotel.  
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
+
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
  
Peace Corps/Ecuador will open a bank account for you and provide you with a bank book and an ATM card. Your monthly living allowance will be deposited into this account at the beginning of each month. Most Volunteers travel to a nearby commercial town every week or two to withdraw cash, check their mail, and shop for items not available in their communities. Many Volunteers bring a credit card, additional cash, or traveler’s checks for emergency expenses and travel, which can be kept in the safe at the Peace Corps office in Quito (up to a maximum of $1,000 in cash and traveler’s checks).  
+
Some U.S. cellphones work in Mozambique. Please check with the phone’s manufacturer to ensure its compatibility with the network in Mozambique. Used cellphones can be purchased in Mozambique for approximately $50 to $70.  
  
The living allowance is calculated to allow you to live at the level of the general population. Volunteers who spend most of their time in their community find that they have adequate resources, while those who choose to travel often to the major cities tend to find their budgets stretched at the end of the month.
+
===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? ===
  
===Food and Diet===
+
During pre-service training, you will be able to send and receive e-mail about once a week at one of the dozen or so Internet businesses in Maputo (at a cost of approximately $3 an hour). Access to computers and the Internet is still relatively limited outside Maputo but is expanding at a significant rate.
  
Wonderful fruits—including many you may never have tried-are plentiful throughout the country in season. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, and there are many varieties. Meat, especially pork, is commonly eaten by those who can afford it. Foods are often fried. Soy, peanut, and sunflower oils are available, but butter, vegetable oil, and pork fat are more commonly used.
+
[[Category:Mozambique]]
 
 
Some combination of rice, potatoes, bread, noodles, and bananas is included in most meals. Eggs, chicken, and dairy products will probably be your main sources of protein. A favorite local seasoning is aji (pronounced ah-hee), a spicy sauce that runs from mild to quite hot.
 
 
 
If you plan to cook for yourself, you may want to bring some spices with you. Caraway, dill, tarragon, chili powder, and spices used in Indian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern dishes are difficult or impossible to find in Ecuador. Supermarkets in the large cities have most basic spices, however.
 
 
 
If you are a vegetarian, follow a low-fat or low-cholesterol diet, or have food allergies, you will have to be patient and inventive to satisfy your needs. Most vegetarian Volunteers have been able to adjust to the Ecuadorian diet without major problems.
 
 
 
When offered food as a guest or as a member of a host family’s household, you may have difficulty convincing people of your need for a special diet. You may also encounter difficulty in turning down alcoholic beverages, especially if you are male. If you refuse what is offered when you are a visitor in someone’s home, you may offend your host. Strategies for dealing with these types of situations will be discussed during pre-service training.
 
 
 
===Transportation===
 
 
 
Your job may require occasional or frequent travel within the area where you are assigned. Although you may be able to travel in your host agency’s vehicle, riding a bicycle or a horse, and/or walking is often the only way to reach small communities or distant farms. The Peace Corps provides mountain bikes (and helmets, which must be used) to Volunteers who require them for their work.
 
 
 
Most of your long-distance travel will be by crowded public bus. A number of reliable bus lines with modern equipment run throughout the country. One-way travel using domestic airlines is an option for Volunteers in the southernmost provinces of the country.
 
 
 
Volunteers are not authorized to operate any type of motorized vehicle in Ecuador. Motorcycle riding (as driver or passenger) is prohibited.
 
 
 
===Geography and Climate===
 
 
 
The four main areas of Ecuador have different climates.  Because the country is on the equator, the temperature depends on the altitude, not the season. There are only two seasons—rainy and dry.
 
 
 
The highlands area, or sierra, is warm during the day (60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and cool at night (35 to 55 degrees).  Several layers of clothing may be necessary. The dry season tends to be warm and dusty. In the rainy season, temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler.
 
 
 
The coastal area, or costa, is generally hot and humid. The rainy season, January through April, is hot (80 to 95 degrees), and mold is sometimes a problem. The dry season, May through December, is slightly cooler (70 to 85 degrees).
 
 
 
The Amazon Basin region, or oriente, is usually warm and muggy. Temperatures fluctuate greatly during the day, ranging from 60 to 90 degrees. Although there are dry and rainy seasons, it rains year-round and mold is a constant problem.
 
 
 
The Galápagos Islands are hot and dry most of the time, but the pleasant ocean breezes make the temperatures more comfortable.
 
 
 
===Social Activities===
 
 
 
Ecuadorian entertainment, especially in small towns, centers on drinking, dancing, and talking. Movies are also popular in Ecuador, although recent releases from the United States (with Spanish subtitles) are usually delayed by several months. The movies shown are often martial arts, horror, or Mexican slapstick films. Large towns usually have at least one movie theater, and many also have video/DVD stores. Small cities have a public library and cultural activities at the local Casa de la Cultura.
 
 
 
Ecuadorians love music and love to dance, and many Volunteers enjoy learning salsa, cumbia, and merengue from Ecuadorian friends. Radio stations play a variety of music, including some American rock and pop. Many Volunteers make their own music, bringing or purchasing a guitar, violin, flute, harmonica, and so forth. Ecuadorian craftsmen make very good guitars that are not expensive.
 
 
 
Sports are very popular in Ecuador, especially soccer,
 
 
 
basketball, and volleyball. Soccer is a national—indeed, Latin
 
 
 
American—passion, similar to baseball in the United States but more so. Volunteers will have many opportunities to play sports informally in their communities. Occasionally, Volunteers even coach local teams.
 
 
 
Volunteers spend a lot of time reading. Although local bookstores carry books in English, prices are higher than in the United States. Volunteers who learn Spanish well enough will, of course, find many books and magazines available. The Peace Corps office has an extensive library, and Volunteers often trade books with one another. Although you will probably want to bring some paperback books with you, it is a good idea to ask your family and friends to send you a book occasionally.
 
 
 
Alcohol plays a big role in social activities, and Volunteers are advised to use their best judgment when consuming alcohol.  There is a high correlation between alcohol use and crimes committed against Volunteers ranging from petty theft to physical assault and rape.
 
 
 
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
 
 
 
“Neat and modest” sums up the dress code for Volunteers in Ecuador. Since most Volunteers are assigned to rural or marginally developed urban sites, there is rarely a need for more formal attire. You will be working as a professional development worker, however, and inappropriate dress may make Ecuadorians less receptive to you. When you visit the office of a counterpart agency, you should wear clothing that is slightly more formal than what you wear daily. For such visits, skirts or dress slacks for women and slacks and button-down shirts with collars for men are appropriate. During training, and less often as a Volunteer, there will be a few occasions, such as the swearing-in ceremony or a wedding, when men will want to wear jackets and ties and women will want to wear dresses.
 
 
 
Women should not wear halter tops, low-cut blouses, miniskirts, and any other attire that could be considered revealing. While young Ecuadorian women in the larger lowland cities do wear such items, cultural stereotypes regarding American women are only exacerbated by revealing attire, sometimes leading to unwanted attention or harassment. Ripped or patched jeans, tank tops, flip-flops, shorts, and body piercings (other than pierced ears) are unacceptable for men and women during training and in any professional or office setting in Ecuador.
 
 
 
Earrings are acceptable for women but generally not for men.  Younger men in large cities occasionally wear earrings, but, as foreigners, male Volunteers should not wear earrings, especially outside of major cities. Hair and beards should be neatly trimmed and clean at all times. Since dreadlocks are associated with the use of illegal drugs, Volunteers may not wear them.
 
 
 
Most of the indigenous populations live in the highlands, where the cold and rain often keep people indoors for days at a time. People in the highlands tend to be more reserved and formal, and many still retain their traditional dress and languages. Life in the lowland and coastal regions is often less formal, with loud music and people conversing in the streets—a common feature of everyday life. Even in these regions, however, business and social interactions have a greater degree of formality than what Americans are accustomed to. The rituals of greeting and acknowledgment are an important part of doing business, and failure to adhere to these customs may be viewed negatively. You will learn a great deal about these customs during pre-service training.
 
 
 
===Personal Safety===
 
 
 
More 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 Ecuador 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 Ecuador. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
 
 
 
===Rewards and Frustrations===
 
 
 
The total time of your commitment to Peace Corps/Ecuador is 27 months—which includes approximately three months of pre-service training and 24 months of Peace Corps service upon successful completion of training. Peace Corps service is not for everyone. Requiring greater dedication and commitment than most jobs, it is for confident, self-starting, and concerned individuals who are interested in helping other countries and increasing understanding across cultural barriers. Your willingness to serve in smaller towns and cities and to give up U.S. standards of space and privacy in your living accommodations will be greatly appreciated by Ecuadorians.
 
 
 
The key to satisfying work as a Peace Corps Volunteer is the ability to establish successful relationships at all levels, which requires patience, sensitivity, and a positive professional attitude. It is essential that you work with Ecuadorian counterparts to ensure that tasks begun during your service will continue after your departure. It is also important to realize that while you may have a lot of energy and motivation, you will be in Ecuador for only two years. Your colleagues will probably continue to work in the same job after you leave—for little money—and may not possess quite the same level of motivation. Often you will find yourself in situations that require the ability to motivate both yourself and your colleagues and to solve problems with little or no guidance from supervisors. You may work for months without seeing any visible impact from, and without receiving feedback on, your work. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results. Nevertheless, you will have a sense of accomplishment when small projects are rendered effective as a result of your efforts. Acceptance into a foreign culture and the acquisition of a second or even a third language are also significant rewards.
 
 
 
Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the valleys, and most Volunteers leave Ecuador feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. Indeed, many former Volunteers will readily tell you that their Peace Corps service was the most significant experience of their lives.
 
 
 
 
 
[[Category:Ecuador]]
 

Revision as of 23:58, 12 March 2009

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

For information see Welcomebooks



How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Mozambique?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. 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 authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance 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 Mozambique?

The electric current is 220 volts, 50 cycles. If you bring any American-manufactured electrical items with you, a small power converter set (with plug adapters and a transformer) will be necessary. Many Volunteers do not have electricity in their homes, some have electricity for a few hours a day and others have it 24 hours a day. Some Volunteers live at sites that are prone to occasional power outages of a few hours or a few days. Some Volunteers find it useful to bring a solar battery charger and batteries. Almost all sites have at least one place in town with access to electricity or a generator for light, cold beverages, and so on.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance to set up a home, a monthly living allowance to cover living expenses, a travel allowance for occasional business trips to the Peace Corps office in Maputo, and a leave allowance of $24 for every month of service. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel inside Mozambique and to other countries. Credit cards are preferable to cash and traveler’s checks. Volunteers are also given the option to place money, credit cards and other valuables in the Peace Corps safe for safekeeping.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

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. Volunteers assigned to schools must schedule vacation in accordance with the school calendar, which consists of breaks of approximately two weeks in June, one week in September, and one week in April. The actual dates of these breaks are determined at the beginning of each school year in February. The school summer vacation is from mid-December to late January.

Health Volunteers must take leave according to their host organizations’ activity schedules and their personal work schedules as agreed by their supervisors. Most NGOs and government institutions close completely or slow down their activities from mid December to mid January, so this is typically a good time to plan for annual 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 the Country Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance 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.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Mozambique do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles.

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

While providing small gifts is not required, sometimes it is nice to give something small and inexpensive as a token of friendship and thanks. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; picture frames; souvenirs from your area; small toys for children; or photos to give away.

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

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until the third month of pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts.

If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including availability of meat or vegetables, living alone or with a housemate, distance from other Volunteers, and distance from the capital. Health Volunteers may be asked whether or not they would prefer to work for an international, national, community-based, or faith-based organization and education Volunteers may be asked which grade levels they would prefer to teach. 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 rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites are a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital; others require a flight from a provincial capital to reach Maputo.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should 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 non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Mozambique?

International phone service in Mozambique, while fairly good by African standards, is less reliable than that in the United States. Placing a call through an operator can take an hour or longer. Calling card service to and from Mozambique is not yet available, and collect calls are also difficult to make.

Calls to the United States are very expensive, ranging from $3 per minute for a direct call to $8 per minute for a call through an operator or from a hotel.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

Some U.S. cellphones work in Mozambique. Please check with the phone’s manufacturer to ensure its compatibility with the network in Mozambique. Used cellphones can be purchased in Mozambique for approximately $50 to $70.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access?

During pre-service training, you will be able to send and receive e-mail about once a week at one of the dozen or so Internet businesses in Maputo (at a cost of approximately $3 an hour). Access to computers and the Internet is still relatively limited outside Maputo but is expanding at a significant rate.