Volunteer discounts

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{{living conditions and volunteer lifestyles by country}}
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===Communications ===
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==Confirmed Discounts==
 
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===Camping and Travel Gear===
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===Mail ===
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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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.Sstandards 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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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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| [http://www.marmot.com/ Marmot]
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| Outdoor gear
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| Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps VolunteersDiscount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them).
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| Apply for the program [http://marmot.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days.
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|-
 
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| [http://www.coleman.com/nonprofit Coleman]
 
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| Outdoor gear
 
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| Coleman offers a discounted pricing program for non-profit groups.  Discount varies by product. <b>must order for delivery in the states</b>
 
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| Email their customer service department [http://www.coleman.com/coleman/feedback2.asp here] and ask if they provide discounts to Peace Corps volunteers. 
 
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|-
 
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| [http://cascadedesigns.com/ Cascade Designs (MSR, Thermarest, Seal Line, Platypus, Tracks)]
 
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| Outdoor Gear
 
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| approximately 30%
 
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| Email [email protected] with your acceptance letter.  They will email back with information to register. Peace Corps are allowed to use a home address as the registered shipping address, since they only ship items to the United States.
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.eaglecreek.com/ Eagle Creek]
 
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| Travel Gear
 
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| 30-50%
 
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| Ask to join the Pro-Deal go to proshop.eaglecreek.com to apply for discount
 
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|-
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com ENO]
 
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| Hammocks, Rain tarps, Stuff sacks
 
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| 10%
 
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| Email Customer Service
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.hennessyhammock.com Hennessy Hammock]
 
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| Camping Hammocks
 
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| 50%. Must order at least ten at a time (talk to other PCVs to put together bulk order). They will ship internationally.
 
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  40% If order individually
 
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| Email Customer Service. This is a small company and they were really excited about this pro-deal. 2/19/11 just emailed and they confirmed 50% discount. No mention of a requirement to purchase 10 at a time.
 
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|-
 
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|[http://www.timbuk2.com Timbuk2]
 
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|Messenger bags, backpacks, and laptop bags
 
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|You get the "prodeal" 50% discount when you sign up.
 
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|sign up [https://prodeal.timbuk2.com/tb2/pro/signin.htm here](I tried this and never got a response. I sent many emails and only part were returned. This did not work for me April 2011.  Update: The pro deal website didn't work for me either, so I emailed the Customer Support.  I got a quick friendly response from CS and they gave me a code for a single use as their pro deal website was down (April 12, 2011). 
 
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|-
 
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|[http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
 
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| All the Best Outdoor Gear!
 
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| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
 
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| Email: [email protected] and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. You will receive a friendly quick response. (4/2011)
 
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|-
 
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|[http://www.smithoptics.com/ Smith Sunglasses]
 
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|Sunglasses
 
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|50% off retail price.
 
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|Find the sunglasses you want on their website.  Then email [email protected] to request the Smith Outdoor Professional Pro Program order forms.]
 
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|-
 
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|Eastern Mountain Sports
 
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|Outdoor Gear, Clothing
 
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|20% off retail price.
 
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|<u>In stores only</u>: ask for the "humanitarian discount." You will get 20% off your entire purchase.
 
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===Clothing===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 
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|-
 
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! width="200pt"|Company
 
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! width="200pt"|Type
 
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! width="200pt"|Discount
 
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.marmot.com/ Marmot]
 
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| Outdoor clothing
 
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| Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps Volunteers.  Discount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them).
 
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| Apply for the program [http://marmot.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days.
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.thenorthface.com/ The North Face]
 
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| Outdoor Clothing
 
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| The North Face offers a Pro Pricing Program to Peace Corps Volunteers.  Discount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them).
 
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| Apply for the program [http://thenorthface.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days. **5/11/11: The program is not accepting new applicants. The Pro program is apparently under review for possible termination.
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.exofficio.com/ ExOfficio]
 
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| Outdoor Clothing
 
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| 50%-60%
 
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| apply online at http://www.exofficio.com/pro **7/20/11: Received a 10% discount, not 50%-60%.
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.macabiskirt.com Macabi]
 
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| Macabi Skirts
 
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| $50 per skirt instead of $80
 
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| e-mail your acceptance letter
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.moosejaw.com Moosejaw]
 
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| Outdoor gear/clothes
 
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| 10% off regular prices, 5% off sale prices<br>
 
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''Excludes Arc'Teryx, Bugaboo,Burton, Merrell, Nixon,Suunto, The North Face and Western Mountainering products''
 
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| Use Coupon Code "LTM" (discount did work on 4/26/2011)
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
 
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| All the Best Outdoor Gear!
 
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| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
 
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| Email: [email protected] and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. 
 
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===Education===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 
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|-
 
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! width="200pt"|School / University
 
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! width="200pt"|Type
 
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! width="200pt"|Benefits
 
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.msu.edu Michigan State University]
 
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| Graduate School
 
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| In-State Tuition for RPCVs
 
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| [http://www.reg.msu.edu/ROInfo/notices/residency.asp Section 3G]
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben.mastersint Master's International]<br>
 
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| "more than 60 universities offering 117 different graduate degrees."
 
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| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/masters/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 
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| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/masters/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben.fellows Fellows/USA]<br>
 
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| "more than 50 universities."
 
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| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/fellows/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 
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| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/fellows/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 
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===Electronics===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 
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|-
 
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! width="200pt"|Company
 
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! width="200pt"|Type
 
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! width="200pt"|Discount
 
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.voltaicsystems.com/index.shtml Voltaic Systems]
 
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| Solar Powered Backpacks
 
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| 35% off
 
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| Write to [email protected] for the discount code or call 877.304.6861 ext. 701
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.freeplayenergy.com/products/aiddev/scout Freeplay Energy]
 
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| Scout shortwave radio
 
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| discount price $25 plus shipping
 
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| contact Penny Thornton 866-526-2826 (1/11/11 I called and the Scout has been discontinued and Penny Thornton no longer works there. They did offer the Eyemax as somewhat comparable and at a small discount)
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.etoncorp.com/ Eton]
 
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| shortwave radios
 
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| 20% off
 
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| Call 1-800-872-2228 (6/17/11 - called and says they only give discounts to retailers) (7-28-2011 gave me 50% off plus the cost of shipping)
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.sollight.com/ Sollight]
 
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| Solar powered water bottle caps turn your bottle into a lantern
 
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| 40%
 
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| Email [email protected] and ask nicely
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.solio.com Solio]
 
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| Universal solar power charger
 
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| 15%
 
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| Use coupon code "SolioCS20"
 
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|-
 
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| [http://store.apple.com Apple]
 
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| Electronics
 
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| 5-6%
 
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| Use their government pricing program. Need original copy of your invite
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.dell.com/epp Dell]
 
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| Electronics
 
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| 10-30% (depends on product)
 
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| www.dell.com/epp; member ID GS83510340
 
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|}
 
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===Food and Drinks===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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|-
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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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| [http://www.facebook.com/riseupcoffee Rise Up Coffee]
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| Organic Coffee
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| " Rise Up Coffee will send our coffee to any current PCV's for FREE!!!"
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| "Simply contact us through [http://www.facebook.com/riseupcoffee FB] or email [email protected] ... and wait for your organic coffee to show up (which, depending on where you are, could take some time!)." <br>(Owner Tim Cureton, PC Kiribati 98-01) <br>
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[http://drinkorganiccoffee.blogspot.com/2010/03/free-coffee-to-any-peace-corps.html More Info]
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===Medical===
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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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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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During training, people can send letters and packages to you at the following address:  
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|-
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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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| [http://www.usa-icd.org/information/peace-corps/index.htm USA-ICD]
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| Dental (Applicants)
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| "volunteering to provide a dental examination and x-rays for Peace Corps applicants at no charge" (read [http://www.usa-icd.org/projects/peace-corps/index.htm more...])
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| "The applicant will bring a Peace Corps dental examination form to the appointment." (Available [[Forms | here]])
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|-
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| [http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2009/november/story19697.html Michigan Tech]
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|  Medical exams and lab tests required by Peace Corps, for Master's International students
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| "The health care provider will offer PCMI students at Michigan Tech a 20 percent discount on any balance they owe after insurance payments for exams and tests required by the Peace Corps, plus an additional 10 percent prompt-pay discount, for a total discount of 30 percent."
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| [http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2009/november/story19697.html press release]
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|-
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|}
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===Personal Products===
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PCT, “Your Name”
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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Corps de la Paix
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|-
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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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| [http://www.lunapads.com/ Lunapads.com]
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| The Diva Cup, washable menstrual pads
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|
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10% off any order of $25 or more<br>
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|
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enter "PEACECORPS11" in promotion code box <br>
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The code is updated yearly so change the numbers on the end to match the year you are ordering in.
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|-
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B.P. 1323
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|}
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===Shoes===
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N’Djamena, Chad
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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Central Africa
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|-
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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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| [http://www.keenfootwear.com/ Keen]
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| Footwear
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| 40% off order of up to $600 (retail value)
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| Must request promo code [http://pro.keenfootwear.com/pro/code.aspx here]
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|-
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| [http://chacousa.com/ Chaco]
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| Footwear
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| 50% off
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|[http://www.chacoprodeal.com chacoprodeal.com] - They also require proof of service which can be faxed to 1-888-746-3329 or emailed, call the number on the prodeal site to find out where.
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|-
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| [http://www.merrell.com/ Merrell]
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| Footwear
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| 40% off
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|www.merrellprodeal.com
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|-
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| [http://www.teva.com/ Teva]
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[http://www.simpleshoes.com/ Simple Shoes]
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| Footwear
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| 50% off
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| Must request promo code <[email protected]>. Proof of acceptance needed. To request a code for Simple Shoes, be sure to mention this in your request email. Worked 7/8/11- received code for 50% off up to 4 pairs of shoes.
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|-
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| [http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
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| All the Best Outdoor Gear! We got lots of shoe too!
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| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
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| Email: [email protected] and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. 
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|-
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| [http://www.wolverine.com/ Wolverine]
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| Footwear
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| unsure but there is a discount
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|http://www.wolverineprodeal.com/
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===Travel===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 
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|-
 
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! width="200pt"|Company
 
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! width="200pt"|Type
 
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! width="200pt"|Discount
 
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 
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|-
 
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| [https://www.cwtsatotravel.com/ Sato Travel]
 
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| airline, hotel, train and car reservations
 
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| "managing travel for U.S. military and government clients."
 
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| [PCVs] "can use our SatoVacation Center for personal travel being paid for on a personal credit card." <br>
 
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Peace Corps account info [https://www.cwtsatotravel.com/traveler_info/contactInfo.aspx?cid=1154 here]
 
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|-
 
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|}
 
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==Unconfirmed Discounts==
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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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===Camping and Travel Gear===
 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 
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|-
 
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! width="200pt"|Company
 
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! width="200pt"|Type
 
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! width="200pt"|Discount
 
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 
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|-
 
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|[http://www.campmor.com Campmor]
 
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| Camping Gear: Packs, Tents, Clothing, Sleeping Gear
 
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| 10%
 
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| Some said it worked fine, but Campmor told others that PC would have to order for the discount- individuals couldn't get the discount.
 
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|-
 
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| [http://www.brunton.com/ Brunton]
 
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| Camping Stoves, Lanterns, Solar Power, Headlamps, Binoculars, Scopes, Compasses
 
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| n/a
 
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| "They emailed me a form and asked me to fill it out but the catch is whatever you buy has to be sent the company address and they review the form and decide if they want to give you a discount or not"
 
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|-
 
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|}
 
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==No discounts==
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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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* [http://www.llbean.com/ LL Bean]
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* [http://www.target.com/ Target]
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===Telephones ===
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* [http://www.prana.com/ prAna]
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* [http://www.crocs.com/ Crocs]
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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.
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* [http://www.rei.com/ REI]
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* [http://www.smartwool.com/ Smartwool Socks]
+
===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ===
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* [http://www.arcteryx.com/ Arc'teryx]
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* [http://www.ems.com/ Eastern Mountain Sports]
+
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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* [http://www.patagonia.com/ Patagonia]
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* [http://www.ospreypacks.com/ Osprey]
+
===Housing and Site Location ===
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* [http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ Vibram FiveFingers]
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* [http://www.timberland.com/ Timberland]
+
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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* [http://www.tigerdirect.com/ Tiger Direct]
+
 
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* [http://www.redwingshoes.com/ Red Wing Shoes]
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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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[[Category:resources]]
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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 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.  
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===Food and Diet ===
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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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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.
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 +
===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.
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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 ===
 +
 
 +
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.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Chad]]
 +
'''Bold text'''

Revision as of 12:28, 6 November 2013



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in [[ ]]
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

[[Category: ]]


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.

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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