Difference between pages "Rwanda" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (1 revision)
 
m (1 revision)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{CountryboxAlternative
+
{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
|Countryname= Rwanda
+
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 welcome 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.  
|CountryCode = rw
+
|status = [[ACTIVE]]
+
|Flag=
+
|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/rwwb696.pdf
+
|Region=
+
|CountryDirector= Steve Miller
+
|Sectors= [[Health]], [[Education]]
+
|ProgramDates=
+
|CurrentlyServing= 102
+
|TotalVolunteers=
+
|Languages= French, Kinyarwanda, English
+
|Map= Rw-map.gif
+
|stagingdate= May 3 2011; September 12 2011
+
|stagingcity= Philadelphia
+
}}
+
  
The Peace Corps signed a country agreement with the Government of Rwanda in 1974 and the first group of Volunteers arrived in 1975. The agency withdrew Volunteers in 1993 due to the civil war and the program closed in 1994. In the 18 years that the Peace Corps operated in Rwanda a total of 114 Volunteers served successfully.
+
In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges.  Here in the Eastern Caribbean, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from your own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.  
  
A new country agreement was signed with the Government of Rwanda on July 18, 2008. The first new group of thirty-five Public Health trainees arrived in January 2009. They will be assigned to the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Committee to health centers throughout the country.
+
The Caribbean people are well-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.  
  
Some Volunteers will be assigned to work on HIV/AIDS prevention programs, funded by the President's Emergency Program For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and administered by the National Committee to Fight against AIDS. Other Volunteers will be assigned to the Ministry of Health. In addition to efforts to prevent AIDS, all of the Volunteers will work on issues such as nutrition, malaria prevention, vaccinations and income generation.
+
To ease the transition and adapt to life in the Eastern Caribbean, 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 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 will ultimately be your own.  
  
==Peace Corps History==
+
===Overview of Diversity in the Eastern Caribbean===
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Rwanda]]''
+
The Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean 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 will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
The first group of Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Rwanda
+
===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
in 1975. Programming started with three Volunteers working
+
in university education, and later expanded into fisheries and
+
agriculture. However, due to a limited number of requests
+
for Volunteers from the government of Rwanda, Peace Corps
+
withdrew its permanent staff and the small program was
+
managed with the help of the U.S. Embassy.
+
  
In 1985 and 1986, program assessments indicated that there
+
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
was potential for expansion of the Peace Corps program,
+
particularly in areas of forestry and cooperative extension.
+
With growth in mind, Peace Corps sent a permanent
+
representative to Rwanda in 1987. In 1988, an associate
+
Peace Corps director was added to enhance programming.
+
In addition to the original programs in university education,
+
agriculture, and fisheries, Peace Corps/Rwanda began new
+
initiatives in conservation and health. However, in February
+
1993, severe political instability in Rwanda led to the
+
evacuation of all Volunteers. The office eventually closed in
+
April 1994. All records were burned by the U.S. Embassy,
+
leaving very little documentation of Peace Corps’ operations
+
there.
+
  
On July 15, 2007, an assessment team traveled to Rwanda to
+
Dealing with the behavior of some men in the Eastern Caribbean can be challenging to an American woman of any age. There are no laws in the Eastern Caribbean against sexual harassment, so men are used to making all types of remarks when a woman passes by. These remarks vary from a simple “psst!!” to “Looking good, baby!” to more sexually explicit solicitations. Even the local women whom they see every day are not spared this verbal harassment, but they know how to cope. Some women even regard these remarks as compliments.  
explore the viability of re-establishing Peace Corps operations.
+
This was the first assessment team to visit the country since
+
the program closed in 1994. From the initial meetings it became
+
clear that both the community and the current government of
+
Rwanda are eager to welcome Peace Corps back to the country.
+
  
On July 18, 2008, U.S. Ambassador Michael Arietti and Secretary
+
General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
+
Rwanda Amandin Rugira signed an agreement officially reestablishing
+
the U.S. Peace Corps program in Rwanda.
+
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle==
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
  
''Main article: [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Rwanda]]''
+
Volunteers of color face unique challenges in the Eastern Carribean. An African-American Volunteer may pass for a local in tourist areas, but be viewed primarily as an American by many West Indians. The key is to come without preconceptions or expectations of immediate acceptance.  Other minority groups may be called by names that are stereotypical and not very flattering. Hispanic-Americans will generally be labeled as white which might cause an issue with identity. The challenge is to create your own identity outside the stereotype. This is usually easier to do in your own community than in areas where you are not known.
  
As a Volunteer, you will most likely live in a small town or rural community, and not have access to indoor plumbing or electricity. Expect to use lamps and candles for lighting and to cook using a single-burner kerosene stove, wood, or charcoal.
+
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
The standards and conditions of Volunteer housing vary widely, from mud houses with thatched roofs to very modern cement houses with running water and electricity. The type of house you have will depend on your project, the area of the country to which you are posted, and the types of houses available in the community. You may also be required to share housing with other staff or to live in a room behind a shop at a market center. You can expect to have, at the very least, a room to call your own. The decision as to whether housing standards are “acceptable” lies with the Peace Corps staff. When it comes to your housing, you should not lose sight of the guiding goal of the Peace Corps. Maintain your focus on service to the people of Rwanda and not on the level of your accommodations.  
+
Senior Volunteers usually fare well in the Eastern Caribbean. They may not become victims of some of the harassment that younger Volunteers face, but the same safety issues exist, especially when they are viewed as tourists. Sometimes, seniors command a high level of respect from community members, especially in smaller communities. At other times, they are questioned as to why they are here.  
  
==Training==
+
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
  
''Main article: [[Training in Rwanda]]''
+
Many Caribbean people are intolerant of persons with different sexual orientations. Gay and lesbian Volunteers may have a hard time if they are open about their sexual orientation. Some West Indians believe that the Bible says that such people go against the divine plan. They may shun or mock gay Volunteers since they engage in what are considered to be abnormal practices.
  
The most important function of Peace Corps staff is to provide support for Volunteers. Support does not imply daily supervision of Volunteers’ work, nor does it imply assuming parental roles. Volunteer support implies an ongoing interaction between Volunteers and all Peace Corps staff regarding how you handle such matters as your overall adjustment to the Peace Corps, your job assignment, and your community. Your Peace Corps staff is responsible for making regular visits to your site to assist you in any way possible in your orientation in-country.
+
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
  
Training will be busy for everyone. Often you will work over eight hours a day, five or six days a week. Be prepared for a rigorous, full schedule. The principal objectives of training are to provide a learning environment that enables you to develop the language (Kinyarwanda), technical and cultural skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to work and live in Rwanda.
+
People in the Eastern Caribbean are mostly devout Christians and take religion very seriously. They go to church, say their prayers, read the Bible, and generally engage in a variety of religious activities. Many American evangelists travel to the Caribbean to hold crusades and are well-received. It is often expected that people coming to live and work in the Eastern Caribbean will be active Christians. Volunteers of Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths may be questioned about their religious beliefs, but blatant discrimination is rare.  
  
Your training will be a mixture of classroom instruction and training in the community, where you will learn by doing and then reflect on your experiences during formal sessions. You will spend time in the field, completing hands-on, practical tasks and participating in group discussions, lectures, and field trips. Each week you will spend time discussing what you learned the previous week, preparing for the next work week, and attending essential cross-cultural, health, administrative, and integration sessions.
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
  
Previous training were conducted using a center-based model. Recently, however, the training site was moved to just south of Kigali and is now conducted using a community based (CBT) model, where Volunteers live and learn primarily with host families.
+
As a disabled Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Here, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes about individuals with disabilities and may discriminate against you. There is very little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States.  
  
Most of the training staff will be Rwandan nationals.
+
That being said, 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 accommodation, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in the Eastern Caribbean without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in their training, housing, job sites, or in other areas, to enable them to serve safely and effectively.  
  
==Health Care and Safety==
+
=====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers ====
  
''Main article: [[Health care and safety in Rwanda]]''
+
Married couples serving in the Eastern Caribbean generally have a very positive Volunteer experience. They support each other in integrating into the community, in evaluating progress in their assignments, and in putting their challenges and frustrations in perspective.
  
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 Rwanda maintains qualified staff to take care of Volunteers’ primary health care needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Rwanda at local, and equivalent American-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an equivalent of American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
+
Couples live together throughout their service, including pre-service training. In additition to their individual projects, couples usually can find opportunities for collaborative work as well. However, given the small communities in the Eastern Caribbean, some couples may find the continuous presence of a spouse leaves each with little privacy.  
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
+
Married Volunteers may not readily participate in activities in which their single peers are involved, and find that they are left out of the social “loop.”
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Rwanda]]''
+
The female partner may be subjected to the same sexual harassment as a single female Volunteer. Generally, most local men will desist from such behavior when it is established that the Volunteer is married.
  
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.
+
[[Category:Eastern Caribbean]]
 
+
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Rwanda, 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.
+
 
+
* 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
+
 
+
==Frequently Asked Questions==
+
 
+
''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Rwanda]]''
+
 
+
* How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Rwanda?
+
* What is the electric current in Rwanda?
+
* 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 Rwandan 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 Rwanda?
+
* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
+
* Will there be email and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
+
 
+
==Packing List==
+
 
+
''Main article: [[Packing list for Rwanda]]''
+
 
+
This list has been compiled by Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each 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 Rwanda.
+
 
+
==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+%22rwanda%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/rw/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=696-CFD Rwanda Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Rwanda. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
+
 
+
==See also==
+
* [[Volunteers who served in Rwanda]]
+
* [[The Friends of Burundi and Rwanda]]
+
 
+
==External links==
+
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/rw.html Peace Corps Journals - Rwanda]
+
 
+
[[Category:Rwanda]] [[Category:Africa]]
+
[[Category:Country]]
+

Latest revision as of 06:57, 21 May 2014

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |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 the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in the Eastern Caribbean| |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 welcome 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. Here in the Eastern Caribbean, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from your own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.

The Caribbean people are well-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.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in the Eastern Caribbean, 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 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 will ultimately be your own.

Overview of Diversity in the Eastern Caribbean[edit]

The Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean 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 will take pride in supporting each other and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Dealing with the behavior of some men in the Eastern Caribbean can be challenging to an American woman of any age. There are no laws in the Eastern Caribbean against sexual harassment, so men are used to making all types of remarks when a woman passes by. These remarks vary from a simple “psst!!” to “Looking good, baby!” to more sexually explicit solicitations. Even the local women whom they see every day are not spared this verbal harassment, but they know how to cope. Some women even regard these remarks as compliments.


Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

Volunteers of color face unique challenges in the Eastern Carribean. An African-American Volunteer may pass for a local in tourist areas, but be viewed primarily as an American by many West Indians. The key is to come without preconceptions or expectations of immediate acceptance. Other minority groups may be called by names that are stereotypical and not very flattering. Hispanic-Americans will generally be labeled as white which might cause an issue with identity. The challenge is to create your own identity outside the stereotype. This is usually easier to do in your own community than in areas where you are not known.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers[edit]

Senior Volunteers usually fare well in the Eastern Caribbean. They may not become victims of some of the harassment that younger Volunteers face, but the same safety issues exist, especially when they are viewed as tourists. Sometimes, seniors command a high level of respect from community members, especially in smaller communities. At other times, they are questioned as to why they are here.

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

Many Caribbean people are intolerant of persons with different sexual orientations. Gay and lesbian Volunteers may have a hard time if they are open about their sexual orientation. Some West Indians believe that the Bible says that such people go against the divine plan. They may shun or mock gay Volunteers since they engage in what are considered to be abnormal practices.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers[edit]

People in the Eastern Caribbean are mostly devout Christians and take religion very seriously. They go to church, say their prayers, read the Bible, and generally engage in a variety of religious activities. Many American evangelists travel to the Caribbean to hold crusades and are well-received. It is often expected that people coming to live and work in the Eastern Caribbean will be active Christians. Volunteers of Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths may be questioned about their religious beliefs, but blatant discrimination is rare.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities[edit]

As a disabled Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Here, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes about individuals with disabilities and may discriminate against you. There is very little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States.

That being said, 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 accommodation, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in the Eastern Caribbean without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in their training, housing, job sites, or in other areas, to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

=Possible Issues for Married Volunteers[edit]

Married couples serving in the Eastern Caribbean generally have a very positive Volunteer experience. They support each other in integrating into the community, in evaluating progress in their assignments, and in putting their challenges and frustrations in perspective.

Couples live together throughout their service, including pre-service training. In additition to their individual projects, couples usually can find opportunities for collaborative work as well. However, given the small communities in the Eastern Caribbean, some couples may find the continuous presence of a spouse leaves each with little privacy.

Married Volunteers may not readily participate in activities in which their single peers are involved, and find that they are left out of the social “loop.”

The female partner may be subjected to the same sexual harassment as a single female Volunteer. Generally, most local men will desist from such behavior when it is established that the Volunteer is married.