Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Togo" and "Packing list for Niger"

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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
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{{Packing lists by country}}
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.  
+
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Niger]] 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 an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Niger.  
  
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.  
+
Many Volunteers end up wishing they had not brought so many clothes and toiletries and had concentrated instead on more personal items like music and , photos. However, we recommend that you avoid bringing anything you would be heartbroken to lose. Since there is a variety of jobs, each with different clothing requirements, you should consider your particular job in deciding what to bring. Health and education Volunteers have a greater need for professional-looking clothing than Volunteers who spend most of the time in the field, but all Volunteers should be neat and presentable.  Despite your worst fears, there is a cool season in Niger, when night temperatures become quite tolerable. Make sure your clothes are comfortable and durable, because they will take a beating during hand laundering. Keep in mind that it is relatively cheap and easy to have local tailors make great-looking traditional clothes (or copies of what you bring with you).  
  
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.
+
===General Clothing ===
  
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.
+
* Ten or so pairs of cotton underwear (boxer shorts, bras, etc.)
 +
* Three to five cotton T-shirts or tank tops (white not recommended)
 +
* Three or four dress shirts
 +
* One or two pairs of shorts for sports (but note that shorts are not normally worn by men or women in public)
 +
* Two or three pairs of lightweight, loose-fitting cotton pants (tailors can duplicate them), the darker the better
 +
* Two or three skirts for women (short skirts are inappropriate, and pockets are handy), below knee-length
 +
* One sweater/sweatshirt (fleece)
 +
* Three or five pairs of cotton socks (not white due to dust)
 +
* One or two dressy outfits for official functions, e.g., good-looking dress or pants and a collared shirt (tie optional); do not bring anything that needs dry cleaning
 +
* Belts (for when your clothes no longer fit you as you’ll probably lose weight)
 +
* One or two brimmed hats or baseball caps
 +
* One pair of jeans
 +
* Swimsuit (sometimes a pool may be available)
  
===Overview of Diversity in Togo ===
+
===Shoes ===
  
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.
+
* One pair of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas, Birkenstocks, Chacos)
 +
* One pair of tennis shoes
 +
* One pair of dress shoes for official functions (e.g., loafers or boat shoes for men and nice sandals for women)
 +
  
===What Might A Volunteer Face? ===
+
Note: Sand, dust, rain, mud, and mildew are prevalent in Niger, so you may want to waterproof or otherwise protect much of your clothing and footwear.
  
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
+
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
  
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.
+
* Thin, lightweight towel
 +
* Nail clippers and nail file
 +
* Good pair of scissors (for hair cutting and other things)
 +
* Two pairs of prescription glasses, if you wear them, and maybe one tinted pair.
 +
* Three-month supply of any prescription medication you take (including birth control pills)
 +
* Facial astringent/Face wipes (only if you prefer a specific brand)
 +
* Special soaps and hair conditioners
 +
* Two-month supply of shampoo for training
 +
* Earplugs
 +
* Toothpaste (only if you want your favorite brand, as it can be purchased in Niger)
 +
* Two pairs of dark sunglasses (locally available sunglasses may not have UV protection) with a sturdy case
 +
* Razor and blades (if you are partial to a certain type—you can purchase Bic razors locally)
  
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.
+
===Kitchen ===
  
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.
+
* Swiss army knife or Leatherman with can opener, bottle opener, blade, corkscrew
 +
* Sturdy water bottles (e.g., Nalgene) or canteens; two-quart size is ideal (small-mouth bottle easier to drink out of while traveling)
 +
* Spices for cooking (e.g., cinnamon, oregano, basil, curry powder); most can be purchased in Niger 89
 +
* Dry sauce mixes and instant drink mixes (a nice treat)
 +
* Small and large plastic food storage bags
 +
* Hard candies (note that chocolate melts, except for peanut M&M’s)
 +
* Plastic containers (to protect a camera, tapes, and food)
 +
* Dried fruit/granola/energy bars
 +
* Jerky and/or tuna in a pouch
 +
* Pudding
 +
* Instant coffee
  
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.  
+
Note that Peace Corps/Niger has a cookbook specific to cooking in Niger. Also almost any food you want can be sent from home.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
+
===Miscellaneous ===
  
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.
+
* Sleeping bag (very light, highly compactable one is best)
 +
* Pillow (optional)
 +
* Combination lock (key locks available locally)
 +
* Sturdy but inexpensive waterproof watch
 +
* A sturdy day pack or fanny pack
 +
* Batteries for anything electronic that you bring
 +
* Solar battery recharger (note that it is usually easier to just buy new batteries and battery rechargers can get burnt out from the heat)
 +
* Alarm clock
 +
* Backpack—internal frame, well constructed (not too large)
 +
* U.S. and world maps
 +
* Paperbacks (there are many at the Peace Corps office, but recent releases make good additions)
 +
* Games (e.g., deck of cards, chess, checkers, Othello, Frisbee, backgammon); many are available in the transit houses
 +
* Photos of family, friends, and scenery (a great way to get to know people)
 +
* Musical instruments
 +
* Materials for hobbies and crafts (you will have more free time and fewer distractions)
 +
* Calendars, holiday cards, thank-you notes, stationery, address book, good writing pens
 +
* U.S. driver’s license (for travel outside Niger)
 +
* Credit cards
 +
* Padded envelopes for sending items home (like film)
 +
* Twelve to 15 ID photos (for visas and other forms; photo-booth quality is OK, though this can be done in Niger )
 +
* Duct tape
 +
* Cassette recorder,Walkman, iPod, or MP3 player
 +
* Your favorite music and blank cassettes (CDs will get scratched)
 +
* Shortwave radio (for BBC and Voice of America news broadcasts; inexpensive ones can be purchased in Niamey)
 +
* Flashlight or headlamp and spare bulbs (also available in Niger)
 +
* Self-adhesive U.S. stamps for mailing letters with people traveling to the United States
 +
* Camera with a dustproof case (smaller is better as it is more inconspicuous), including digital equipment to download to a computer
 +
* USB sticks
 +
* Your favorite movie on DVD or VHS (You will have access to a TV sometimes) 91
  
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
+
===Don’t Bring ===
  
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.
+
* Heavy coats
 +
* Too many clothes
 +
* Clothing that is torn, disheveled-looking, or has offensive wording
 +
* Camouflage or military clothing
 +
* Lots of cash
 +
* Two-year supply of toiletries (basic products are available in Niger)
 +
* Pots, pans, and kitchen utensils
 +
* Anything cumbersome or unusual that could attract customs’ attention
 +
* Over-the-counter medication (common OTC medication is provided by Peace Corps)
 +
* Insect repellant (provided by Peace Corps/Niger)
 +
* Sun block (provided by Peace Corps)
 +
* Boots
 +
* Rain gear
 +
* Tampons
 +
* Cellphones
  
====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. 
+
[[Category:Niger]]
 
 
====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.
 
 
 
====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.
 
 
 
[[Category:Togo]]
 

Latest revision as of 13:15, 23 August 2016


Packing List for [[{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]] 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!
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]
[[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}}|}}{{#if:{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}|_{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}|}}.svg|50px|none]]

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Category:{{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Niger| |5}}]]

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Niger 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 an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Niger.

Many Volunteers end up wishing they had not brought so many clothes and toiletries and had concentrated instead on more personal items like music and , photos. However, we recommend that you avoid bringing anything you would be heartbroken to lose. Since there is a variety of jobs, each with different clothing requirements, you should consider your particular job in deciding what to bring. Health and education Volunteers have a greater need for professional-looking clothing than Volunteers who spend most of the time in the field, but all Volunteers should be neat and presentable. Despite your worst fears, there is a cool season in Niger, when night temperatures become quite tolerable. Make sure your clothes are comfortable and durable, because they will take a beating during hand laundering. Keep in mind that it is relatively cheap and easy to have local tailors make great-looking traditional clothes (or copies of what you bring with you).

General Clothing

  • Ten or so pairs of cotton underwear (boxer shorts, bras, etc.)
  • Three to five cotton T-shirts or tank tops (white not recommended)
  • Three or four dress shirts
  • One or two pairs of shorts for sports (but note that shorts are not normally worn by men or women in public)
  • Two or three pairs of lightweight, loose-fitting cotton pants (tailors can duplicate them), the darker the better
  • Two or three skirts for women (short skirts are inappropriate, and pockets are handy), below knee-length
  • One sweater/sweatshirt (fleece)
  • Three or five pairs of cotton socks (not white due to dust)
  • One or two dressy outfits for official functions, e.g., good-looking dress or pants and a collared shirt (tie optional); do not bring anything that needs dry cleaning
  • Belts (for when your clothes no longer fit you as you’ll probably lose weight)
  • One or two brimmed hats or baseball caps
  • One pair of jeans
  • Swimsuit (sometimes a pool may be available)

Shoes

  • One pair of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas, Birkenstocks, Chacos)
  • One pair of tennis shoes
  • One pair of dress shoes for official functions (e.g., loafers or boat shoes for men and nice sandals for women)


Note: Sand, dust, rain, mud, and mildew are prevalent in Niger, so you may want to waterproof or otherwise protect much of your clothing and footwear.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Thin, lightweight towel
  • Nail clippers and nail file
  • Good pair of scissors (for hair cutting and other things)
  • Two pairs of prescription glasses, if you wear them, and maybe one tinted pair.
  • Three-month supply of any prescription medication you take (including birth control pills)
  • Facial astringent/Face wipes (only if you prefer a specific brand)
  • Special soaps and hair conditioners
  • Two-month supply of shampoo for training
  • Earplugs
  • Toothpaste (only if you want your favorite brand, as it can be purchased in Niger)
  • Two pairs of dark sunglasses (locally available sunglasses may not have UV protection) with a sturdy case
  • Razor and blades (if you are partial to a certain type—you can purchase Bic razors locally)

Kitchen

  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman with can opener, bottle opener, blade, corkscrew
  • Sturdy water bottles (e.g., Nalgene) or canteens; two-quart size is ideal (small-mouth bottle easier to drink out of while traveling)
  • Spices for cooking (e.g., cinnamon, oregano, basil, curry powder); most can be purchased in Niger 89
  • Dry sauce mixes and instant drink mixes (a nice treat)
  • Small and large plastic food storage bags
  • Hard candies (note that chocolate melts, except for peanut M&M’s)
  • Plastic containers (to protect a camera, tapes, and food)
  • Dried fruit/granola/energy bars
  • Jerky and/or tuna in a pouch
  • Pudding
  • Instant coffee

Note that Peace Corps/Niger has a cookbook specific to cooking in Niger. Also almost any food you want can be sent from home.

Miscellaneous

  • Sleeping bag (very light, highly compactable one is best)
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Combination lock (key locks available locally)
  • Sturdy but inexpensive waterproof watch
  • A sturdy day pack or fanny pack
  • Batteries for anything electronic that you bring
  • Solar battery recharger (note that it is usually easier to just buy new batteries and battery rechargers can get burnt out from the heat)
  • Alarm clock
  • Backpack—internal frame, well constructed (not too large)
  • U.S. and world maps
  • Paperbacks (there are many at the Peace Corps office, but recent releases make good additions)
  • Games (e.g., deck of cards, chess, checkers, Othello, Frisbee, backgammon); many are available in the transit houses
  • Photos of family, friends, and scenery (a great way to get to know people)
  • Musical instruments
  • Materials for hobbies and crafts (you will have more free time and fewer distractions)
  • Calendars, holiday cards, thank-you notes, stationery, address book, good writing pens
  • U.S. driver’s license (for travel outside Niger)
  • Credit cards
  • Padded envelopes for sending items home (like film)
  • Twelve to 15 ID photos (for visas and other forms; photo-booth quality is OK, though this can be done in Niger )
  • Duct tape
  • Cassette recorder,Walkman, iPod, or MP3 player
  • Your favorite music and blank cassettes (CDs will get scratched)
  • Shortwave radio (for BBC and Voice of America news broadcasts; inexpensive ones can be purchased in Niamey)
  • Flashlight or headlamp and spare bulbs (also available in Niger)
  • Self-adhesive U.S. stamps for mailing letters with people traveling to the United States
  • Camera with a dustproof case (smaller is better as it is more inconspicuous), including digital equipment to download to a computer
  • USB sticks
  • Your favorite movie on DVD or VHS (You will have access to a TV sometimes) 91

Don’t Bring

  • Heavy coats
  • Too many clothes
  • Clothing that is torn, disheveled-looking, or has offensive wording
  • Camouflage or military clothing
  • Lots of cash
  • Two-year supply of toiletries (basic products are available in Niger)
  • Pots, pans, and kitchen utensils
  • Anything cumbersome or unusual that could attract customs’ attention
  • Over-the-counter medication (common OTC medication is provided by Peace Corps)
  • Insect repellant (provided by Peace Corps/Niger)
  • Sun block (provided by Peace Corps)
  • Boots
  • Rain gear
  • Tampons
  • Cellphones