Difference between pages "Romania" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon"

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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
|Countryname= Romania
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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.  
|CountryCode = ro
 
|status = [[ACTIVE]]
 
|Flag= Flag_of_Romania.svg
 
|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/rowb403.pdf
 
|Region= [[Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
 
|CountryDirector= [[Sheila Crowley]]
 
|Sectors= [[Community Economic Development]]<br> [[Environmental Management and Education]]<br>[[Institutional Development]]<br>[[English Language Education]]
 
|ProgramDates= [[1991]] - [[2013]]
 
|CurrentlyServing= 142
 
|TotalVolunteers= 970
 
|Languages= [[Romanian]], [[Hungarian]]
 
|Map= Ro-map.gif
 
|stagingdate= April 26 2011
 
|stagingcity= Philadelphia
 
}}
 
  
Peace Corps programming in Romania began in 1991, when 18 trainees arrived to initiate an orphanage project. Peace Corps/Romania has four program sectors: community economic development; environmental management and education; institutional development; and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). On June 29, 2011, it was announced that Peace Corps/Romania will be phased out and the last group of volunteers will complete their service in July, 2013.
+
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Cameroon, 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 commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Cameroon.  
  
 +
Outside of the larger urban areas, Cameroonians have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.  The people of Cameroon 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.
  
==Peace Corps History==
+
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Cameroon, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself 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 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 limitations.
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Romania]]''
+
===Overview of Diversity in Cameroon===
  
After the 1989 revolution in Romania (cynically referred to as "the events of December 1989" by some Romanians), U.S. economic assistance to the country focused on aiding Romanian street children and children who had been institutionalized during the Nicolae Ceausescu regime. Peace Corps programming began in 1991, when 18 trainees arrived to initiate an orphanage project. Peace Corps/Romania now has four program sectors: community economic development; environmental management and education; institutional development; and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
+
The Peace Corps staff in Cameroon recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held 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 take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.  
  
 +
===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle==
+
The information that follows was compiled by Peace Corps/ Cameroon Volunteers and staff and is intended to stimulate thought and discussion. It is important to recognize that these issues may or may not have an impact on your own Volunteer experience. Rather, they are here to make all Volunteers aware of issues that a particular group may have to deal with.  As you read them, you might ask yourself, “How would I feel if that happened to me?” and “How could I help a fellow Volunteer if it happened to him or her?”
  
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Romania]]''
+
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
  
Peace Corps Romania no longer places volunteers with host families after swearing in, unless the volunteer requests it. This change has occurred beginning with Group 25 in May 2008.
+
Cameroon is a traditional, patriarchal culture. Although there are several women in positions of great influence in large cities and towns, the people of Cameroon in general have not had much experience with women who take on professional roles or who live independently of their families.  Cameroonian male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances may make unwanted advances toward single women. This problem is less common for female Volunteers who have been accepted into their communities and who have built a network of female friends and counterparts. Learning to live and work constructively in the context of the differing status of women and men and standards of behavior (including sexual behavior) is probably the greatest challenge for female Volunteers in Cameroon. To address this issue Peace Corps/ Cameroon has a Volunteer/staff committee that works on important issues of girls’ and women’s empowerment.
  
Your host organization will identify housing for you that meets Peace Corps standards for safety, privacy, a healthy environment, and proximity to shopping and work. The Peace Corps asks host organizations to provide housing, but contributes part of or even the entire rental cost, if necessary. The populations of towns and cities where Volunteers live range from 1,000 to 300,000, and the type and availability of housing varies accordingly. Volunteers serve throughout Romania except in Bucharest, and there are regional differences in housing as well. The most common accommodation is a small, one-room apartment in a large building.
+
There are a few important adaptations that female volunteers should make in order to protect themselves and reduce harassment.  In Cameroon, when a woman looks directly into a man's eyes it indicates that she is propositioning the man regardless if she is doing it while saying "no".  Also, when a man scratches the palm of a woman's hand with his finger during a hand shake, it means that the man is propositioning the woman. The best response to unwanted advances is to ignore the person and look in the other direction. If you cannot avoid the person, remain aloof, avert your eyes, and do not smile.  In busy market areas, walk with determination with eyes fixed forward and ignore all cat calls.  Protect yourself by being constantly aware of your surroundings.  Avoid isolated or remote areas where an attack could occur unnoticed.  Do not walk alone at night regardless of the distance or the proximity to your home. Lastly, always carry enough money with you so that in the event that you are mugged, the thief will be satisfied and not become violent.
  
In rural communities, there are often only single-floor houses and privacy can become a difficult matter. If assigned to a rural community, you may need to live with a host family for the entire two years of your service.
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
  
In the winter, you may lack central heating, hot water, and perhaps cooking gas, which are controlled by the government. Electricity is usually reliable. The availability of hot water depends upon the town in which you live. Many towns have hot water every other day for two to three hours. The Peace Corps supplies electric space heaters to Volunteers who need them.
+
Cameroonians may make some stereotypic assumptions about Volunteers of color. They may not believe that you are American, commenting that “you don’t look American.” African-American Volunteers may be treated as Cameroonians according to local norms (which can be positive and negative). They may be asked if there really are black people in America and may be called a white person in the local dialect. Asian-American Volunteers are often considered Chinese even when they have a different ethnic origin. They may also be assumed to be martial arts experts and asked to demonstrate their expertise. Children and others may call Asian Americans “heehaw,” a mutation of “Ni Hao Ma,” a greeting in Mandarin Chinese.  
  
If you choose to move into your own housing, Peace Corps must ensure that it meets our housing criteria. This includes safety, private space, healthy environment, proximity to shopping and work, basic furniture with cooking space, and a private bathroom.
+
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
  
==Training==
+
Older Volunteers are usually accorded respect, since Cameroonian culture recognizes that wisdom and life experience come with age. Older Volunteers may experience difficulty, however, in obtaining support from and mixing with younger Volunteers. In contrast, Volunteers in their early 20s may find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Cameroonians of that age often are still pursuing education.
  
''Main article: [[Training in Romania]]''
+
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=====
  
The Peace Corps provides 11 weeks of training that begins immediately upon your arrival in Romania. The schedule is Monday to Friday. Pre-service training contains five major components: technical training, language training, cross-cultural training, health training, and safety and security training. Training is a time for you to reexamine your commitment to becoming a Volunteer in Romania and a time for Peace Corps staff to get to know you and be assured that your skills and attitude are a good match for the program in Romania. Throughout the training period, self-assessment as well as assessment by Peace Corps staff will measure your progress toward meeting training objectives.
+
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and not publicly discussed or acknowledged except in very rare cases. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers in Cameroon may feel that they have to hide their sexuality so as not to risk job effectiveness. In 2006, there was a major public crackdown on those believed to be behaving in homosexual activity. Dealing with constant questions about girlfriends and boyfriends, marriage, and children is something that many Volunteers face on a regular basis. Forming a support network of gay, lesbian, or bisexual friends may be difficult. Peace Corps/ Cameroon works to ensure a supportive, tolerant, and safe community for all Volunteers and staff. You may find more helpful information at www.geocities.com/~lgbrpcv/, a website affiliated with the National Peace Corps Association that provides information on serving as a gay or lesbian Volunteer.  
  
==Health Care and Safety==
+
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
  
''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Romania]]''
+
In general, Cameroonians are familiar with most Christian and Muslim traditions but have little familiarity with Judaism, Buddhism, Unitarianism, and other world religions. Cameroon, however, is an ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse country and, as such, is tolerant of different religions.  Cameroonians may not always agree with your beliefs, but it is unlikely that they will act negatively toward you because of them.
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Romania maintains a clinic with two full-time medical contractors, a part-time assistant, and an office assistant to take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Romania at local, American-standard clinics and hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American medical facility in the region or to the United States.
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
  
 +
While there is a large population of Cameroonians with disabilities, care and accommodation for these individuals are carried out informally and within the family or community.  There is very little infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
  
 +
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Cameroon without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Cameroon staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
+
[[Category:Cameroon]]
 
 
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Romania]]''
 
 
 
In Romania, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Romania.
 
 
 
Outside of Romania’s capital and other large cities, people have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Romania 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 cultural differences that you present.
 
 
 
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Romania, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself 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 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 limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
 
 
 
* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
 
* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
 
* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
 
* Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
 
 
 
 
 
==Frequently Asked Questions==
 
 
 
{{Volunteersurvey2008
 
|H1r=  59
 
|H1s=  66.6
 
|H2r=  48
 
|H2s=  80.4
 
|H3r=  47
 
|H3s=  82.3
 
|H4r=  41
 
|H4s=  103.5
 
|H5r=  57
 
|H5s=  45
 
|H6r=  58
 
|H6s=  70.3
 
}}
 
 
 
''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Romania]]''
 
 
 
* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Romania?
 
* What is the electric current in Romania?
 
* How much money should I bring?
 
* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
 
* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
 
* Do I need an international driver’s license?
 
* What should I bring as gifts for Romanian friends and my host family?
 
* Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
 
* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
 
* Can I call home from Romania?
 
* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
 
* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
==Packing List==
 
 
 
''Main article: [[Packing List for Romania]]''
 
 
 
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Romania and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Romania if you look long enough to find it.
 
 
 
When choosing luggage, remember that you will be hauling it in and out of taxis and trains and often lugging it around on foot. It should be durable, flexible, lightweight, and easy to carry. Duffel bags and sturdy backpacks are good choices.
 
 
 
Do not bring anything that is so valuable or precious that you would be heartbroken to lose it.
 
 
 
* General Clothing
 
* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
 
* Kitchen
 
* Miscellaneous
 
 
 
==Trivia==
 
 
 
Romania fought on both sides in WWII. She declared war on the Soviet Union in June, 1941 and after a coup in August 1944 switched sides.
 
 
 
Dracula, as we know him from Bram Stoker and Hollywood, was not the first reference to vampires in Western literature. This honor belongs to [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6087 The Vampyre], written in 1819.
 
 
 
Vlad Tepes, the nominal inspiration for Stoker's character was born in Sighisoara and probably never even visited "Dracula's Castle" in Bran. His true historic castle is [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poienari_Castle Cetatea Poenari], 1480 steps up a mountainside north of Curtea de Arges.
 
 
 
==Peace Corps News==
 
 
 
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
 
 
 
''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22romania%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
 
 
 
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/ro/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
 
 
 
==Country Fund==
 
 
 
Contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=403-CFD Romania Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Romania. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
 
 
 
==See also==
 
* [[Volunteers who served in Romania]]
 
* [[Inspector General Reports]]
 
* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
 
* [[List of resources for Romania]]
 
 
 
==External links==
 
* [http://www.peacecorps.ro/ Romania Homepage]
 
* [http://www.top5optimizers.com/ Top 5 Optimizers]
 
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/bn.html Peace Corps Journals - Romania]
 
* [http://www.mac-how.net/ Mac How ] in Romania
 
* [http://www.romania-insider.com/peace-corps-to-end-its-program-in-romania-by-2013/27419/] Phase Out Announcement
 
 
 
[[Category:Romania]] [[Category:Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
 
[[Category:Country]]
 

Revision as of 22:14, 24 October 2011

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
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.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Cameroon| |7}}]]

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, it poses challenges. In Cameroon, 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 commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Cameroon.

Outside of the larger urban areas, Cameroonians have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Cameroon 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.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in Cameroon, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself 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 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 limitations.

Overview of Diversity in Cameroon

The Peace Corps staff in Cameroon recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held 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 take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?

The information that follows was compiled by Peace Corps/ Cameroon Volunteers and staff and is intended to stimulate thought and discussion. It is important to recognize that these issues may or may not have an impact on your own Volunteer experience. Rather, they are here to make all Volunteers aware of issues that a particular group may have to deal with. As you read them, you might ask yourself, “How would I feel if that happened to me?” and “How could I help a fellow Volunteer if it happened to him or her?”

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

Cameroon is a traditional, patriarchal culture. Although there are several women in positions of great influence in large cities and towns, the people of Cameroon in general have not had much experience with women who take on professional roles or who live independently of their families. Cameroonian male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances may make unwanted advances toward single women. This problem is less common for female Volunteers who have been accepted into their communities and who have built a network of female friends and counterparts. Learning to live and work constructively in the context of the differing status of women and men and standards of behavior (including sexual behavior) is probably the greatest challenge for female Volunteers in Cameroon. To address this issue Peace Corps/ Cameroon has a Volunteer/staff committee that works on important issues of girls’ and women’s empowerment.

There are a few important adaptations that female volunteers should make in order to protect themselves and reduce harassment. In Cameroon, when a woman looks directly into a man's eyes it indicates that she is propositioning the man regardless if she is doing it while saying "no". Also, when a man scratches the palm of a woman's hand with his finger during a hand shake, it means that the man is propositioning the woman. The best response to unwanted advances is to ignore the person and look in the other direction. If you cannot avoid the person, remain aloof, avert your eyes, and do not smile. In busy market areas, walk with determination with eyes fixed forward and ignore all cat calls. Protect yourself by being constantly aware of your surroundings. Avoid isolated or remote areas where an attack could occur unnoticed. Do not walk alone at night regardless of the distance or the proximity to your home. Lastly, always carry enough money with you so that in the event that you are mugged, the thief will be satisfied and not become violent.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

Cameroonians may make some stereotypic assumptions about Volunteers of color. They may not believe that you are American, commenting that “you don’t look American.” African-American Volunteers may be treated as Cameroonians according to local norms (which can be positive and negative). They may be asked if there really are black people in America and may be called a white person in the local dialect. Asian-American Volunteers are often considered Chinese even when they have a different ethnic origin. They may also be assumed to be martial arts experts and asked to demonstrate their expertise. Children and others may call Asian Americans “heehaw,” a mutation of “Ni Hao Ma,” a greeting in Mandarin Chinese.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Older Volunteers are usually accorded respect, since Cameroonian culture recognizes that wisdom and life experience come with age. Older Volunteers may experience difficulty, however, in obtaining support from and mixing with younger Volunteers. In contrast, Volunteers in their early 20s may find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Cameroonians of that age often are still pursuing education.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and not publicly discussed or acknowledged except in very rare cases. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers in Cameroon may feel that they have to hide their sexuality so as not to risk job effectiveness. In 2006, there was a major public crackdown on those believed to be behaving in homosexual activity. Dealing with constant questions about girlfriends and boyfriends, marriage, and children is something that many Volunteers face on a regular basis. Forming a support network of gay, lesbian, or bisexual friends may be difficult. Peace Corps/ Cameroon works to ensure a supportive, tolerant, and safe community for all Volunteers and staff. You may find more helpful information at www.geocities.com/~lgbrpcv/, a website affiliated with the National Peace Corps Association that provides information on serving as a gay or lesbian Volunteer.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

In general, Cameroonians are familiar with most Christian and Muslim traditions but have little familiarity with Judaism, Buddhism, Unitarianism, and other world religions. Cameroon, however, is an ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse country and, as such, is tolerant of different religions. Cameroonians may not always agree with your beliefs, but it is unlikely that they will act negatively toward you because of them.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities

While there is a large population of Cameroonians with disabilities, care and accommodation for these individuals are carried out informally and within the family or community. There is very little infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Cameroon without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Cameroon staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations to enable them to serve safely and effectively.