Difference between pages "Packing list for Uganda" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Sierra Leone"

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{{Packing lists by country}}
+
{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Uganda]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that an essential item to one person is a waste of space and money to another. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything mentioned below, so consider each of the suggestion below and make certain bringing it makes sense to you personally and professionally. If you can’t imagine why you would use an item on this list, you probably never will. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Uganda, including made-to-order clothes. Also note that you will be responsible for carrying all of these items through airports, on crowded buses, and through large cities. Luggage should be lightweight but sturdy, lockable, and easy to carry. As mentioned earlier, Ugandans place great emphasis on being well-groomed and appropriately dressed. When it comes to dress, it is best to err on the conservative side. Tight, torn, revealing, and skimpy clothing is unacceptable. Women’s skirts should be below the knee, and slips are a must. Most Ugandan women do not wear sleeveless garments or trousers in the workplace. For men, button-down shirts are a must for work; T-shirts are not appropriate as professional wear. Do not bring military- or camouflage-style clothing.  
+
In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with
 +
host countries, the 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.
  
The climate in Uganda is pleasantly moderate, although it can be quite cool at night and in the rainy season, especially in the hilly areas. In choosing clothing, remember that you will be washing clothes by hand, that it can take a long time for items to dry in the rainy season, and that dark clothing is better at hiding mud and dirt.  
+
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways,
 +
however, it poses challenges. In Sierra Leone, 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 Sierra
 +
Leone.
  
 +
Outside of Sierra Leone’s capital, residents of rural
 +
communities 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 Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone,
 +
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.
  
===General Clothing ===
+
===Overview of Diversity in Sierra Leone===
  
* Belt
+
The Peace Corps staff in Sierra Leone recognizes the
* Rain gear
+
adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor
* Sleepwear
+
to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training,
* Sun hats or caps
+
several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping
* Sweater, sweatshirt, or windbreaker
+
mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female
* Sturdy gloves for gardening and other work
+
Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages,
 +
religions, and sexual orientations, and hope you will become
 +
part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in
 +
supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of
 +
American culture.
  
===For Women ===
+
===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
  
* Three basic below-the-knee skirts
+
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
* One or two pairs of culottes for bike riding and fieldwork
+
* Four short-sleeved (not sleeveless) tops (tank tops can be worn underneath if desired)
+
* One below-the-knee dress for special occasions
+
* One or two pairs of slacks for gardening and travel (jeans are rarely appropriate for women and are hard to wash and dry)
+
* One or two pairs of shorts for sports
+
* Two-year supply of cotton underpants, bras, and socks (not available locally)
+
* Nylons (not necessary for Uganda but perhaps useful for vacation) -- they are available in country as well
+
* Durable sports bra
+
* Two or three half slips and one full slip
+
* At least one, one-piece swimsuit
+
  
===For Men ===
+
Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an
 +
oddity because most women, particularly in rural areas, are
 +
married, some with children, by the time they are in their 20s.
 +
Single women may also face what in the United States would
  
* Four pairs of nice cotton or polyester-blend trousers for work (jeans are okay for casual wear, not for work, but are very hard to wash and dry)
+
be considered inappropriate advances from male colleagues,
* One nice dress shirt and tie for special occasions (a sports coat is useful but not a must, and some teacher trainers find they need to wear ties) 
+
supervisors, and acquaintances. Gender roles have changed
* Four or five button-down shirts for work, most short-sleeved
+
drastically over the years in the United States; it can be a
* One or two pairs of shorts (conservative length) for sports and wearing around the house
+
challenge to adapt to a culture with more traditional roles
* Four or five T-shirts for casual wear and physical labor
+
and to know how to effectively set boundaries. Unwanted
* Two-year supply of cotton underwear and socks
+
attention, and even harassment, can be one of the greatest
* Swimsuit
+
frustrations as a female PCV.
  
===Shoes ===
+
Above and beyond traditional gender roles and possible
 +
harassment, is the possibility of sexual violence. Sexual
 +
violence against women is a reality in Sierra Leone. Rape was
 +
used as a weapon of war and the government has launched
 +
campaigns to address this problem with the hope of reducing
 +
its occurrence. Domestic violence is also a possibility in this
 +
post-conflict country. According to police, most acts of sexual
 +
violence occur between people who know each other. Female
 +
Volunteers must exercise caution with their consumption
 +
of alcohol and going out in the evening unaccompanied.
 +
Volunteers will learn what is and is not acceptable in the
 +
Sierra Leonean culture, such as when it is and is not advisable
 +
to invite men into their homes. Often, Volunteers must take an
 +
even more conservative approach than their Sierra Leonean
 +
friends and colleagues.
  
* One pair of dress shoes
+
Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training,
* One pair of sturdy, comfortable work shoes with closed toes
+
and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any
* One pair of hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
+
problems.
* One pair of sturdy sandals (flip-flops and simple canvas shoes are available in Uganda)
+
  
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
+
Volunteers should report any concerns or incidents to the
 +
Peace Corps medical officer (PCMO) or country director (CD)
 +
immediately.
  
* Prescription drugs for the first three months
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
* Two or three months’ supply of sanitary napkins or other feminine hygiene supplies (ob-brand minipads are available locally but are expensive, and you will not have a chance to buy any during training)
+
* Shaving cream (available locally)
+
* Deodorant (available locally but expensive)
+
* Cotton swabs (also available locally)
+
* Shampoo and cream rinse for the first few weeks
+
* Toothbrushes and travel case (toothpaste is available locally, but bring an initial supply)
+
* Dental floss (though the Peace Corps provides floss, it is handy to have some for other purposes (e.g., hanging pictures))
+
* Hair clips, bobby pins, covered elastic bands
+
* Razors and blades (some types are available locally); remember not to pack these or other sharp objects in your carry-on bag
+
* Brush/comb, some extra ones
+
* Lotions and powders (note that scented toiletries can attract insects)
+
* Nail clippers and nail files or emery boards
+
* Hair-cutting scissors
+
  
===Kitchen ===
+
Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally
 +
not experience overt biases. However, Sierra Leoneans may
 +
make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s
 +
background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers
 +
are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu and African-
 +
American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra
 +
Leonean.
  
You will be given a modest settling-in allowance after training to buy household items in Uganda, and pots and pans, dishes, cups, basins, cookers, and lanterns are widely available. You might want to send some food items to yourself before you leave, such as powdered drink mixes, granola bars, chocolate that won’t melt, and your favorite spices (many spices are available here, especially Indian ones).
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Varying Ages====
  
* Two sets of sheets; twin-size flat ones are the most useful (local sheets are of poor quality and expensive, though local blankets are of good quality)
+
In Sierra Leonean culture, people respect age as bringing
* French press, if you appreciate good coffee
+
wisdom and experience. Volunteers in their 20s sometimes
* Three to four washcloths for use in bucket baths (also available locally)
+
find they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as
* Several large towels (lightweight beach towels are a good choice-these are available locally as well)
+
professional colleagues. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are
* Cookbook or recipes
+
automatically accorded respect. In turn, older Volunteers
* Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool
+
might find that almost too much is expected of them
* Good can opener (available locally, but often of poor quality)
+
because of their age; or conversely, older Volunteers who
* Vegetable peeler and other favorite low-tech gadgets (most items available locally)
+
are accustomed to living independent lives may at first feel
* Measuring cup and spoons (also available locallye) 
+
frustrated by the fact that younger Sierra Leoneans want to
* Mess kit for cooking (most items available locally)
+
do things for them.
* Plastic food storage containers and bags
+
  
===Miscellaneous ===
+
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
  
* At least 15 passport-size photos will be used to obtain a residency permit and for use in obtaining other forms of identification soon after you arrive, so pack them in your carry-on luggage
+
Most cultures in Sierra Leone consider homosexuality taboo.
* Umbrella (available locally)
+
Homosexuality certainly exists in Sierra Leone, but there is no
* Sewing kit
+
open homosexual community.
* U.S. stamps, for sending mail with people traveling back home
+
* Good dictionary
+
* Reference books for your specialty (there are also good materials in Peace Corps/Uganda’s resource center)
+
* Duct tape
+
* Small stapler and staples (also availabel locally)
+
* Travel alarm clock
+
* Small mirror
+
* Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
+
* Pocket-size solar calculator
+
* Sleeping bag and pad (some Volunteers say these are essential; others say they never use them)
+
* Good flashlight and extra bulbs
+
* Sunglasses
+
* Money belt
+
* Basic wristwatch
+
* Shortwave radios
+
* Binoculars (optional-Uganda is a bird-watcher’s heaven)
+
* Camera
+
* Bungee cords 
+
* Daypack
+
* Solar-powered battery charger and batteries (if needed for your gear)
+
*      Solar bulbs or/and solar power panels. With a power panel you can charge your cell or any other low-voltage USB-port devices, such as IPod, Kindle, etc. All you need is sun, and that's plentiful. You may want to check the Nokero and Solio products. Peace Corps Volunteers get a 25%-50% discount on Nokero products when they join [http://www.marketforchange.com Market for Change]
+
* Music player and music (consider the power and battery consumption of the different options, also consider the risk of having this stolen)
+
* Musical instruments (if you play or plan to learn)
+
* A few novels (to read and swap)
+
* Hobby materials like sketching pads and pencils
+
* Games
+
  
Note: Do not bring a mosquito net; Peace Corps/Uganda provides these.  
+
Volunteers who are lesbian, along with female Volunteers who
 +
are heterosexual, will have to deal with constant questions
 +
about boyfriends, marriage, and sex. Some female Volunteers
 +
wear an “engagement ring” to avoid unwanted attention.
 +
While this practice might be helpful, it might also create
 +
complications.
  
[[Category:Uganda]]
+
Volunteers may not be able to freely discuss their sexual
 +
orientation with new friends and family; this can obviously be
 +
very difficult. Peace Corps staff is aware of this challenge and
 +
will offer support as you navigate through your new culture.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
 +
 
 +
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps
 +
Office of Medical Services determined you were physically
 +
and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable
 +
accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service
 +
in Sierra Leone without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself
 +
or interruption of service. The Peace Corps/Sierra Leone
 +
staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable
 +
accommodations for them in training, housing, jobsites, or
 +
other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
 +
 
 +
As a result of the protracted war, there are many amputees
 +
in Sierra Leone. Some support themselves by begging, so a
 +
Volunteer with disabilities may receive offers of assistance
 +
or notice stereotypes based on common interactions Sierra
 +
Leoneans have with amputees.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
While serving as a married couple offers unique challenges
 +
and rewards, there are none specific to service in Sierra
 +
Leone. In general, more traditional gender roles exist. So, a
 +
married couple with a husband who helps cook or clean might
 +
draw teasing or even unwanted comments. Generally couples
 +
will be regularly asked why they do not yet have children and
 +
when will they start a family.

Latest revision as of 08:18, 21 May 2014

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

In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the 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.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Sierra Leone, 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 Sierra Leone.

Outside of Sierra Leone’s capital, residents of rural communities 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 Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone, 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.

Overview of Diversity in Sierra Leone[edit]

The Peace Corps staff in Sierra Leone recognizes the 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 races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope 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?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an oddity because most women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are in their 20s. Single women may also face what in the United States would

be considered inappropriate advances from male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Gender roles have changed drastically over the years in the United States; it can be a challenge to adapt to a culture with more traditional roles and to know how to effectively set boundaries. Unwanted attention, and even harassment, can be one of the greatest frustrations as a female PCV.

Above and beyond traditional gender roles and possible harassment, is the possibility of sexual violence. Sexual violence against women is a reality in Sierra Leone. Rape was used as a weapon of war and the government has launched campaigns to address this problem with the hope of reducing its occurrence. Domestic violence is also a possibility in this post-conflict country. According to police, most acts of sexual violence occur between people who know each other. Female Volunteers must exercise caution with their consumption of alcohol and going out in the evening unaccompanied. Volunteers will learn what is and is not acceptable in the Sierra Leonean culture, such as when it is and is not advisable to invite men into their homes. Often, Volunteers must take an even more conservative approach than their Sierra Leonean friends and colleagues.

Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems.

Volunteers should report any concerns or incidents to the Peace Corps medical officer (PCMO) or country director (CD) immediately.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Sierra Leoneans may make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu and African- American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra Leonean.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Varying Ages[edit]

In Sierra Leonean culture, people respect age as bringing wisdom and experience. Volunteers in their 20s sometimes find they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect. In turn, older Volunteers might find that almost too much is expected of them because of their age; or conversely, older Volunteers who are accustomed to living independent lives may at first feel frustrated by the fact that younger Sierra Leoneans want to do things for them.

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

Most cultures in Sierra Leone consider homosexuality taboo. Homosexuality certainly exists in Sierra Leone, but there is no open homosexual community.

Volunteers who are lesbian, along with female Volunteers who are heterosexual, will have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex. Some female Volunteers wear an “engagement ring” to avoid unwanted attention. While this practice might be helpful, it might also create complications.

Volunteers may not be able to freely discuss their sexual orientation with new friends and family; this can obviously be very difficult. Peace Corps staff is aware of this challenge and will offer support as you navigate through your new culture.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities[edit]

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

As a result of the protracted war, there are many amputees in Sierra Leone. Some support themselves by begging, so a Volunteer with disabilities may receive offers of assistance or notice stereotypes based on common interactions Sierra Leoneans have with amputees.

Possible Issues for Married Volunteers[edit]

While serving as a married couple offers unique challenges and rewards, there are none specific to service in Sierra Leone. In general, more traditional gender roles exist. So, a married couple with a husband who helps cook or clean might draw teasing or even unwanted comments. Generally couples will be regularly asked why they do not yet have children and when will they start a family.