Volunteer discounts

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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race, and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other, despite our many differences. Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal.
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<center><div style="border-right: 1px solid white; border-bottom: 1px solid white; background: white none repeat scroll 0% 0%; width: 20em; text-align: center; margin-right: 1em; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; font-size: 120%;"><div style="border: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170);"><div style="border-top: 1px solid white; border-left: 1px solid white;"><span class="plainlinks"> '''[http://peacecorpswiki.org/Volunteer_discounts?title=Volunteer_discounts&action=edit Click here to edit or add a new discount!]'''</span></div></div></div></center> <!-- (End of Code for the Button) -->
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In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges. In Togo, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
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==Confirmed Discounts==
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Outside of Togo’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blonde hair and blue eyes. The people of Togo are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another, and encourage you to share American diversity with the Togolese.
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In order to ease the transition and adapt to life in Togo, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
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===Camping and Travel Gear===
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Historically, the Peace Corps and the Togolese people have benefited from the skills and experiences that persons from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have offered.  Volunteers from various backgrounds, all qualified ages, and both genders have served and benefited from their time in Togo. Your experiences in Togo will differ, to some degree, from every other Volunteer’s, both in terms of the challenges and rewards. Togolese are, in general, wonderfully generous, warm, and hospitable people and no matter who you are, if you make the effort necessary to transcend cultural barriers, you will have a rewarding and fruitful stay in Togo.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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===Overview of Diversity in Togo ===
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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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| [http://www.marmot.com/ Marmot]
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| Outdoor gear
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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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The Peace Corps staff in Togo recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be facilitated by the Volunteer-initiated and led diversity committee to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, and ages and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.  
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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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| [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. 11/28/11:  Cascade Designs has switched to a website application.  Go to https://cascadedesigns.com/friendsofindustry to apply for discount program.
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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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| [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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| [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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|[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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|[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: mcorey@backcountry.com 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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|Eastern Mountain Sports
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===What Might A Volunteer Face? ===
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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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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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Americans working in Togo face cultural adjustments in understanding and addressing prejudices and stereotypes held about them. Unfortunately, the rather lurid films shown in Togo at the cinema and on TV, plus society’s general attitude towards women in Africa, may make Togolese view female Volunteers as “loose,” or “available.” Togolese men may misinterpret friendly and open gestures by female Volunteers as an unintended invitation to something more serious.  
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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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| [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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| [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. 11/28/11: The program is back, but no longer offers discounts to Peace Corps Volunteers
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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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [http://www.hotchillys.com/home/index/1520.1 Hot Chillys]
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| Hot Chillys
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| 10% off Code for Clothing and Socks
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| e-mail sarahp@hotchillys.com or customer service and ask for a Peace Corps Discount (9/15/11)
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===Education===
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Friendships with Togolese men should have clear boundaries in the beginning. Unlike in the U.S. there is less of a concept that a completely platonic relationship can exist between men and women. To be treated respectfully, female Volunteers may find that they will have to curb some of the activities they were used to in the United States. Late-night socializing with Togolese colleagues is not recommended. Neither is inviting any man into your house for any reason if you are alone.  Fortunately, you can entertain male guests without giving them—or the community—the wrong idea by remaining in the family compound and ensuring that several family members or neighborhood children are with you and your guest at all times.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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This may sound extreme, but it is better to play it safe, especially at the beginning of your service, rather than to be caught in a situation where a Togolese colleague is expecting sex instead of a friendly chat when he comes to visit. It is also a very good idea to make friends with the women in your family and/or neighborhood as soon as possible. Not only will these friendships probably be immensely rewarding, but spending time with women will also prevent unwelcome or inappropriate attention from men.  
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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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| [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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| [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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| [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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Togolese men will frequently ask women to “marry” them or ask for your address. A firm “no” (no smiles, and no eye contact) is usually enough to handle this situation, even though it may have to be repeated a few times. Men will make verbal requests, but it is very rare for them to try force.  Togolese respond very well to gentle humor.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
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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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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===Food and Drinks===
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Though unconsciously, many Togolese expect that American Volunteers will be white. Peace Corps Volunteers in Togo, who are of ethnic minority backgrounds, will generally not find overt biases. However, Togolese may make some stereotypic assumptions. For example, most Asian-American Volunteers will automatically be considered Chinese and Kung Fu experts. An African-American Volunteer may first be mistaken for a Ghanaian or Nigerian because of an Anglicized French accent, and then be regarded more as an American instead of someone with African origins. Volunteers of color may be expected to learn local languages more quickly than other Peace Corps Volunteers, may be asked what their tribal language and customs are, and could find themselves evaluated as less professionally competent than Caucasian Volunteers.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
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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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Respect comes with age in traditional Togolese society, so being a senior is generally an advantage. Volunteers in their early 20s find that they may have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues since very often Togolese of that age are still pursuing their education.  Younger Volunteers must work for acceptance and respect since respect in traditional Togolese society is associated with age. In contrast, every wrinkle and every gray hair earns respect for the experience and wisdom they represent.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
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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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| [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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| [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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===Personal Products===
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Homosexuality is not publicly discussed or acknowledged in Togolese society. Since acceptance in the rural community is part and parcel to a successful Peace Corps experience in Togo, Volunteers with alternative sexual orientations generally choose not to openly discuss their sexual orientation in their villages. Gay and lesbian Volunteers have however, successfully and safely worked in Togo. 
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
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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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| [http://www.lunapads.com/ Lunapads.com]
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| The Diva Cup, washable menstrual pads
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10% off any order of $25 or more<br>
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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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There are three major religions in Togo: Christianity, Islam and Animism. People with different religious backgrounds than these three may have difficulty practicing their religion.  Being perceived as having no religion at all may not be understood.
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===Shoes===
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities ====
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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Togolese are very direct and physical disabilities are likely to be pointed out in not very sensitive ways. It should be noted however, that there is no judgment attached to the comments. It is rather a case of stating the obvious. Transportation in Togo is difficult and would be more so for someone with a physical disability. While there are good medical facilities in the capital, up-country medical care is generally substandard by American values.  
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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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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| [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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===Sporting Goods===
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For the most part, public facilities in Togo are unequipped to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, as part of the medical clearance process, the Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodation, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Togo without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service.
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FMOI @ King_Tourus420 work with any disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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[[Category:Togo]]
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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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| [http://www.discraft.com/contact08.html Discraft.com]
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| Ultimate frisbee discs
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Free<br>
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For more information contact discraft [http://www.discraft.com/contact01.html here.]
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===Travel===
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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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| [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>
+
-
Peace Corps account info [https://www.cwtsatotravel.com/traveler_info/contactInfo.aspx?cid=1154 here]
+
-
|-
+
-
|}
+
-
 
+
-
==Unconfirmed Discounts==
+
-
 
+
-
===Camping and Travel Gear===
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-
 
+
-
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
+
-
|-
+
-
! width="200pt"|Company
+
-
! width="200pt"|Type
+
-
! width="200pt"|Discount
+
-
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
+
-
|-
+
-
|[http://www.campmor.com Campmor]
+
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| Camping Gear: Packs, Tents, Clothing, Sleeping Gear
+
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| 10%
+
-
| Some said it worked fine, but Campmor told others that PC would have to order for the discount- individuals couldn't get the discount.
+
-
|-
+
-
| [http://www.brunton.com/ Brunton]
+
-
| Camping Stoves, Lanterns, Solar Power, Headlamps, Binoculars, Scopes, Compasses
+
-
| n/a
+
-
| "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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==No discounts==
+
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* [http://www.llbean.com/ LL Bean]
+
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* [http://www.target.com/ Target]
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-
* [http://www.prana.com/ prAna]
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* [http://www.crocs.com/ Crocs]
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-
* [http://www.rei.com/ REI]
+
-
* [http://www.smartwool.com/ Smartwool Socks]
+
-
* [http://www.arcteryx.com/ Arc'teryx]
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* [http://www.ems.com/ Eastern Mountain Sports]
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-
* [http://www.patagonia.com/ Patagonia]
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-
* [http://www.ospreypacks.com/ Osprey]
+
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* [http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ Vibram FiveFingers]
+
-
* [http://www.timberland.com/ Timberland]
+
-
* [http://www.tigerdirect.com/ Tiger Direct]
+
-
* [http://www.redwingshoes.com/ Red Wing Shoes]
+
-
[[Category:resources]]
+

Latest revision as of 16:54, 19 November 2013

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[ ]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences. See also:
[[Category: ]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race, and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other, despite our many differences. Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal.

In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges. In Togo, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.

Outside of Togo’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blonde hair and blue eyes. The people of Togo are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another, and encourage you to share American diversity with the Togolese.

In order to ease the transition and adapt to life in Togo, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Historically, the Peace Corps and the Togolese people have benefited from the skills and experiences that persons from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have offered. Volunteers from various backgrounds, all qualified ages, and both genders have served and benefited from their time in Togo. Your experiences in Togo will differ, to some degree, from every other Volunteer’s, both in terms of the challenges and rewards. Togolese are, in general, wonderfully generous, warm, and hospitable people and no matter who you are, if you make the effort necessary to transcend cultural barriers, you will have a rewarding and fruitful stay in Togo.

Contents

[edit] Overview of Diversity in Togo

The Peace Corps staff in Togo recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be facilitated by the Volunteer-initiated and led diversity committee to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, and ages and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

[edit] What Might A Volunteer Face?

[edit] Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

Americans working in Togo face cultural adjustments in understanding and addressing prejudices and stereotypes held about them. Unfortunately, the rather lurid films shown in Togo at the cinema and on TV, plus society’s general attitude towards women in Africa, may make Togolese view female Volunteers as “loose,” or “available.” Togolese men may misinterpret friendly and open gestures by female Volunteers as an unintended invitation to something more serious.

Friendships with Togolese men should have clear boundaries in the beginning. Unlike in the U.S. there is less of a concept that a completely platonic relationship can exist between men and women. To be treated respectfully, female Volunteers may find that they will have to curb some of the activities they were used to in the United States. Late-night socializing with Togolese colleagues is not recommended. Neither is inviting any man into your house for any reason if you are alone. Fortunately, you can entertain male guests without giving them—or the community—the wrong idea by remaining in the family compound and ensuring that several family members or neighborhood children are with you and your guest at all times.

This may sound extreme, but it is better to play it safe, especially at the beginning of your service, rather than to be caught in a situation where a Togolese colleague is expecting sex instead of a friendly chat when he comes to visit. It is also a very good idea to make friends with the women in your family and/or neighborhood as soon as possible. Not only will these friendships probably be immensely rewarding, but spending time with women will also prevent unwelcome or inappropriate attention from men.

Togolese men will frequently ask women to “marry” them or ask for your address. A firm “no” (no smiles, and no eye contact) is usually enough to handle this situation, even though it may have to be repeated a few times. Men will make verbal requests, but it is very rare for them to try force. Togolese respond very well to gentle humor.

[edit] Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

Though unconsciously, many Togolese expect that American Volunteers will be white. Peace Corps Volunteers in Togo, who are of ethnic minority backgrounds, will generally not find overt biases. However, Togolese may make some stereotypic assumptions. For example, most Asian-American Volunteers will automatically be considered Chinese and Kung Fu experts. An African-American Volunteer may first be mistaken for a Ghanaian or Nigerian because of an Anglicized French accent, and then be regarded more as an American instead of someone with African origins. Volunteers of color may be expected to learn local languages more quickly than other Peace Corps Volunteers, may be asked what their tribal language and customs are, and could find themselves evaluated as less professionally competent than Caucasian Volunteers.

[edit] Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Respect comes with age in traditional Togolese society, so being a senior is generally an advantage. Volunteers in their early 20s find that they may have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues since very often Togolese of that age are still pursuing their education. Younger Volunteers must work for acceptance and respect since respect in traditional Togolese society is associated with age. In contrast, every wrinkle and every gray hair earns respect for the experience and wisdom they represent.

[edit] Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

Homosexuality is not publicly discussed or acknowledged in Togolese society. Since acceptance in the rural community is part and parcel to a successful Peace Corps experience in Togo, Volunteers with alternative sexual orientations generally choose not to openly discuss their sexual orientation in their villages. Gay and lesbian Volunteers have however, successfully and safely worked in Togo.

[edit] Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

There are three major religions in Togo: Christianity, Islam and Animism. People with different religious backgrounds than these three may have difficulty practicing their religion. Being perceived as having no religion at all may not be understood.

[edit] Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities

Togolese are very direct and physical disabilities are likely to be pointed out in not very sensitive ways. It should be noted however, that there is no judgment attached to the comments. It is rather a case of stating the obvious. Transportation in Togo is difficult and would be more so for someone with a physical disability. While there are good medical facilities in the capital, up-country medical care is generally substandard by American values.

For the most part, public facilities in Togo are unequipped to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, as part of the medical clearance process, the Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodation, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Togo without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. FMOI @ King_Tourus420 work with any disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

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