Difference between pages "Health care and safety in Vanuatu" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Botswana"

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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. Peace Corps/Vanuatu maintains a clinic and a full-time medical officer takes care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Vanuatu at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill during your service, you will be transported either to an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
 
  
===Health Issues in Vanuatu ===
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Botswana?===
  
On the whole, Vanuatu is a healthy place to live. There are almost no poisonous insects or reptiles on land or in the seaMany of the serious tropical diseases present in other parts of the world are absent or are controlled in Vanuatu. One of the major problems for the local population is malaria. You will be taught how to reduce your risk of catching this disease by using sensible precautions to prevent mosquito bites and by taking prophylactic drugs. Volunteers rarely catch malaria, but those who do can make a full recovery if they seek prompt treatment. You will be given extensive information about malaria during training.  
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limitsThe Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
  
Since weather in Vanuatu is hot and humid much of the time, good personal hygiene is important to prevent skin diseases.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.  
  
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===What is the electric current in Botswana?===
  
===Helping You Stay Healthy ===
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It is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Plugs/outlets consist of both three prong round and three prong square shapes.
  
The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy.  Upon your arrival in Vanuatu, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of pre-service training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter.
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===How much money should I bring?===
  
During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies through the medical officer. However, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any other specific medical supplies you require, as the Peace Corps will not order these items during training. Please bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here and it may take several months for shipments to arrive.  
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and bank cards are preferable to cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted by businesses in Botswana and are redeemable only at certain banks. However, they can be useful for travel to other countries during vacations. Note, too, that ATM machines are widely available and linked to the banking network in the States. Only VISA cards and cards stamped with the “PLUS” logo on the back are useable. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
  
You will have physicals at mid-service and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Vanuatu will consult with the Office of Medical Services at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. If your condition cannot be treated in Vanuatu, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me?===
  
===Maintaining Your Health ===
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Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. All vacation plans must be approved by the Volunteer’s Batswana supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps for approval. Extended stays (those that require more leave than you have accrued) away from your site are not encouraged and must be reviewed by your Peace Corps supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps country director for a final decision.
  
As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The adage “An ounce of prevention …” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Vanuatu is to take the following preventive measures:
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The Peace Corps cannot provide Volunteers with vacation planning assistance. You are responsible for making reservations, purchasing tickets, and procuring the appropriate visas. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.
  
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance?===
  
To suppress attacks of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, you must take an approved anti-malarial drug, usually mefloquine.  Mefloquine has been shown to be the most effective and practical drug in areas with significant chloroquine resistance.  Taken at the prophylactic dose of 250&nbsp;mg per week, mefloquine is safe and generally well tolerated. Fewer than 5 percent of all Volunteers worldwide experience annoying side effects from mefloquine. With rare exceptions, Volunteers must remain on mefloquine for the duration of their stay in Vanuatu. As an alternative to mefloquine, doxycycline, an antibiotic, can be taken daily.  
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The Peace Corps does not insure personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
  
Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken.  These illnesses include food poisoning, parasitic infections, hepatitis A, dysentery, Guinea worm, tapeworms, and typhoid fever. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Vanuatu during pre-service training.
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
Abstinence is the only certain choice for preventing infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. You are taking risks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STDs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.  
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Volunteers in Botswana are not allowed to drive except during an approved vacation. Many Volunteers in southern Africa find it economically advantageous to rent a car, either alone or as a group, while traveling in the region. In such cases, it is helpful to have an international driver’s license. As with other personal travel arrangements, the Peace Corps does not assist in the procurement of international driver’s licenses.  
  
Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are available without charge from the medical officer.
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===What should I bring as gifts for Batswana friends and my host family? ===
  
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The Peace Corps does not encourage you to bring gifts for your family and friends during training. The provision of such gifts is an issue to be discussed and decided by the entire group of trainees, since it is precedent-setting and may have ramifications outside the gift giver’s original intent.  For instance, expectations may arise in host families if some people provide gifts but others do not. Should you feel moved to provide a small token of appreciation to your host family, a wide range of suitable items are available locally.
  
It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for scheduled immunizations, and that you let the medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries.  
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One of the greatest gifts you can provide to your host family and friends is information about yourself and your life in the United States. For this reason, we encourage you to bring photos of the people and things that are important in your life.  
  
===Women’s Health Information ===
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but also have programmatic ramifications. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of appropriate medical care if the Volunteer remains in-country. Given the circumstances under which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps’ medical and programmatic standards for continued service during pregnancy can be met.  
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Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until approximately six weeks into their pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. The Botswana program has a wide variety of sites, ranging from urban to periurban to rural, and Volunteers should be prepared to accept any of them, including housing in a range of options from one room for kitchen, sleeping, and pit latrine to the other extreme of two bedroom brick homes with hot water heaters.
  
If feminine hygiene products are not available for you to purchase on the local market, the Peace Corps medical officer in Vanuatu will provide them. If you require a specific product, please bring a six-month supply with you.
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
===Your Peace Corps Medical Kit ===
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The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.
  
The Peace Corps medical officer will provide you with a kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.
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===Can I call home from Botswana?===
  
====Medical Kit Contents ====
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Yes. Most telephones in the country can be used for international calls. Volunteers often call home and ask to be called back or prearrange a time to be called at a private phone or pay phone.
  
Ace bandages <br>
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me?===
Adhesive tape  <br>
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American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook  <br>
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Antacid tablets (Tums)  <br>
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Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)  <br>
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Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)  <br>
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Band-Aids  <br>
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Butterfly closures  <br>
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Calamine lotion  <br>
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Cepacol lozenges  <br>
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Condoms  <br>
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Dental floss  <br>
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Diphenhydramine HCL 25&nbsp;mg (Benadryl)  <br>
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Insect repellent stick (Cutter’s)  <br>
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Iodine tablets (for water purification)  <br>
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Lip balm (Chapstick)  <br>
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Oral rehydration salts  <br>
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Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)  <br>
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Pseudoephedrine HCL 30&nbsp;mg (Sudafed)  <br>
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Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)  <br>
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Scissors  <br>
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Sterile gauze pads  <br>
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Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)  <br>
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Tinactin (antifungal cream)  <br>
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Tweezers  <br>
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===Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist ===
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While cellular phone services are widely available in Botswana, it is not advisable to bring a cellphone from the United States unless you check with the manufacturer and confirm that the phone will work in Botswana. In all cases, these phones are the type with SIM cards that can be changed in and out. SIM cards in Botswana cost about $15. The cost of a new cellphone in Botswana is approximately $50. Costs of phones can be covered by your moving-in allowance which Volunteers near the end of pre-service training.  Yet, you will likely want to have a cell phone upon arrival so you will probably need to put money up-front and use your moving in allowance later to cover the expense.  Peace Corps does not provide cellphones to Volunteers.
  
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and may jeopardize your eligibility to serve.
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Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
  
If your dental exam was done more than a year ago, or if your physical exam is more than two years old, contact the Office of Medical Services to find out whether you need to update your records. If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends requested confirmation reports or X-rays to the Office of Medical Services.  
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Internet service is widely available in Botswana; most larger villages and towns have Internet cafes. The choice about whether to bring a computer is an individual one. Those who decide to bring a personal computer should be aware that Botswana’s climate can be tough on sensitive equipment. In addition, peripherals like printer cartridges and disks are very expensive locally. Those who bring computers or other valuable equipment should consider purchasing personal property insurance as laptops make you a target for theft.  
  
If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, contact your physician’s office to obtain a copy of your immunization record and bring it to your pre-departure orientation. If you have any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment, either at your pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Vanuatu. You do not need to begin taking malaria medication prior to departure.
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[[Category:Botswana]]
 
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Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-thecounter medication you use on a regular basis, including birth control pills Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply, it will order refills during your service. While awaiting shipment—which can take several months—you will be dependent on your own medication supply. Also make sure to bring any vitamins you may take regularly, as these will not be supplied by Peace Corps.  The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or non-prescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.
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You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they may be useful if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month supply of prescription drugs.
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If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you—a pair and a spare. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace it, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. The Peace Corps discourages you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support the use of contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions unless an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval.
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If you are eligible for Medicare, are over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your future participation in healthcare plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary healthcare from the time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you will be entitled to the post-service healthcare benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. You should consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age or preexisting conditions might prevent you from reenrolling in your current plan when you return home.
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===Safety and Security—Our Partnership ===
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Serving as a Volunteer overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property thefts and burglaries are not uncommon. Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although almost all Volunteers complete their two years of service without serious personal safety problems. In addition, more than 84 percent of Volunteers surveyed in the 2004 Peace Corps Volunteer Survey say they would join the Peace Corps again.
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The Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you. This Welcome Book contains sections on: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle; Peace Corps Training; and Your Health Care and Safety. All of these sections include important safety and security information.
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The Peace Corps makes every effort to give Volunteers the tools they need to function in the safest and most secure way possible, because working to maximize the safety and security of Volunteers is our highest priority. Not only do we provide you with training and tools to prepare for the unexpected, but we teach you to identify and manage the risks you may encounter.
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===Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk ===
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There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control. Based on information gathered from incident reports worldwide in 2004, the following factors stand out as risk characteristics for assaults. Assaults consist of personal crimes committed against Volunteers, and do not include property crimes (such as vandalism or theft).
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* Location: Most crimes occurred when Volunteers were in public areas (e.g., street, park, beach, public buildings). Specifically, 43 percent of assaults took place when Volunteers were away from their sites.
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* Time of day: Assaults usually took place on the weekend during the evening between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.— with most assaults occurring around 1:00 a.m.
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* Absence of others: Assaults ususally occurred when the Volunteer was unaccompanied. In 82 percent of the sexual assaults the Volunteer was unaccompannied and in 55 percent of physical assaults the Volunteer was unaccompanied.
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* Relationship to assailant: In most assaults, the Volunteer did not know the assailant.
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* Consumption of alcohol: Forty percent of all assaults involved alcohol consumption by Volunteers and/or assailants.
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===Summary Strategies to Reduce Risk ===
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Before and during service, your training will address these areas of concern so that you can reduce the risks you face.
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For example, here are some strategies Volunteers employ:
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Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft:
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* Know the environment and choose safe routes/times for travel
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* Avoid high-crime areas per Peace Corps guidance
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* Know the vocabulary to get help in an emergency
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* Carry valuables in different pockets/places
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* Carry a "dummy" wallet as a decoy Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of burglary:
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* Live with a local family or on a family compound
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* Put strong locks on doors and keep valuables in a lock box or trunk
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* Leave irreplaceable objects at home in the U.S.
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* Follow Peace Corps guidelines on maintaining home security 
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Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of assault:
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* Make local friends
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* Make sure your appearance is respectful of local customs; don’t draw negative attention to yourself by wearing inappropriate clothing
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* Get to know local officials, police, and neighbors
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* Travel with someone whenever possible
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* Avoid known high crime areas
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* Limit alcohol consumption
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===Support from Staff ===
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In March 2003, the Peace Corps created the Office of Safety and Security with its mission to “foster improved communication, coordination, oversight, and accountability of all Peace Corps’ safety and security efforts.” The new office is led by an Associate Director for Safety and Security who reports to the Peace Corps Director and includes the following divisions: Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security; Information and Personnel Security; Emergency Preparedness, Plans, Training and Exercise; and Crime Statistics and Analysis.
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The major responsibilities of the Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security Division are to coordinate the office’s overseas operations and direct the Peace Corps’ safety and security officers who are located in various regions around the world that have Peace Corps programs. The safety and security officers conduct security assessments; review safety trainings; train trainers and managers; train Volunteer safety wardens, local guards, and staff; develop security incident response procedures; and provide crisis management support.
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If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure that the Volunteer is safe and receiving medical treatment as needed.  After assuring the safety of the Volunteer, Peace Corps staff provide support by reassessing the Volunteer’s work site and housing arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also assist Volunteers with preserving their rights to pursue legal sanctions against the perpetrators of the crime. It is very important that Volunteers report incidents as they occur, not only to protect their peer Volunteers, but also to preserve the future right to prosecute. Should Volunteers decide later in the process that they want to proceed with the prosecution of their assailant, this option may no longer exist if the evidence of the event has not been preserved at the time of the incident.
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The country-specific data chart below shows the incidence rates and the average number of incidents of the major types of safety incidents reported by Peace Corps Volunteers/ trainees in Vanuatu as compared to all other Inter-America and Pacific region programs as a whole, from 2000–2004.  It is presented to you in a somewhat technical manner for statistical accuracy.
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To fully appreciate the collected data below, an explanation of the graph is provided as follows:
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The incidence rate for each type of crime is the number of crime events relative to the Volunteer/trainee population.
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It is expressed on the chart as a ratio of crime to Volunteer and trainee years (or V/T years, which is a measure of 12 full months of V/T service) to allow for a statistically valid way to compare crime data across countries. An “incident” is a specific offense, per Peace Corps' classification of offenses, and may involve one or more Volunteer/trainee victims. For example, if two Volunteers are robbed at the same time and place, this is classified as one robbery incident.
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The chart is separated into eight crime categories. These include vandalism (malicious defacement or damage of property); theft (taking without force or illegal entry); burglary (forcible entry of a residence); robbery (taking something by force); minor physical assault (attacking without a weapon with minor injuries); minor sexual assault (fondling, groping, etc.); aggravated assault (attacking with a weapon, and/or without a weapon when serious injury results); and rape (sexual intercourse without consent).
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When anticipating Peace Corps Volunteer service, you should review all of the safety and security information provided to you, including the strategies to reduce risk. Throughout your training and Volunteer service, you will be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas including safety and security. Once in-country, use the tools and information shared with you to remain as safe and secure as possible.
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Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of violent crimes.  The Peace Corps will give you information and training in how to be safe. But, just as in the U.S., crime happens, and Volunteers can become victims. When this happens, the investigative team of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is charged with helping pursue prosecution of those who perpetrate a violent crime against a Volunteer. If you become a victim of a violent crime, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute is entirely yours, and one of the tasks of the OIG is to make sure that you are fully informed of your options and help you through the process and procedures involved in going forward with prosecution should you wish to do so.  If you decide to prosecute, we are here to assist you in every way we can.
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Crimes that occur overseas, of course, are investigated and prosecuted by local authorities in local courts. Our role is to coordinate the investigation and evidence collection with the regional security officers (RSOs) at the U.S. embassy, local police, and local prosecutors and others to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible under the laws of the country. OIG investigative staff has extensive experience in criminal investigation, in working sensitively with victims, and as advocates for victims. We also, may, in certain limited circumstances, arrange for the retention of a local lawyer to assist the local public prosecutor in making the case against the individual who perpetrated the violent crime.
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If you do become a victim of a violent crime, first, make sure you are in a safe place and with people you trust and second, contact the country director or the Peace Corps medical officer. Immediate reporting is important to the preservation of evidence and the chances of apprehending the suspect.  Country directors and medical officers are required to report all violent crimes to the Inspector General and the RSO. This information is protected from unauthorized further disclosure by the Privacy Act. Reporting the crime also helps prevent your further victimization and protects your fellow Volunteers.
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In conjunction with the RSO, the OIG does a preliminary investigation of all violent crimes against Volunteers regardless of whether the crime has been reported to local authorities or of the decision you may ultimately make to prosecute. If you are a victim of a crime, our staff will work with you through final disposition of the case. OIG staff is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. We may be contacted through our 24-hour violent crime hotline via telephone at 1.800.233.5874, or by e-mail at violentcrimehotline@peacecorps.gov.
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===Security Issues in Vanuatu ===
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When it comes to your safety and security in the Peace Corps, you have to be willing to adapt your behavior and lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target for crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime does exist in Vanuatu. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking the precautions taught during pre-service training. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. On the other hand, tourist attractions in large towns are favorite sites for pickpockets.
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Although violent crime is not commonplace, there have been cases of crimes against Volunteers. Criminal activity largely entails stealing, though there have been incidences of attempted assault, and aggravated assault toward foreigners.
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===Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime ===
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You must be prepared to take on a large degree of responsibility for your own safety. Only you can make yourself less of a target, ensure that your home is secure, and develop relationships in your community that will make you an unlikely victim of crime. In coming to Vanuatu, do what you would do if you moved to a new city in the United States:
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Be cautious, check things out, ask questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps’ policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Vanuatu may require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle.
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Volunteers attract a lot of attention both in large cities and at their sites, but they are likely to receive more negative attention in highly populated centers than at their sites, where “family,” friends, and colleagues look out for them. While whistles and exclamations are fairly common on the street, this behavior can be reduced if you dress conservatively, avoid eye contact, and do not respond to unwanted attention.  In addition, keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money pouch, the kind that hangs around your neck and stays hidden under your shirt or inside your coat.  Do not keep your money in outside pockets of backpacks, in coat pockets, or in fanny packs. And always walk with a companion at night.
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===Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Vanuatu ===
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The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your two-year service and includes the following: information sharing, Volunteer training, site selection criteria, a detailed emergency action plan, and protocols for reporting and responding to safety and security incidents. Vanuatu’s in-country safety program is outlined below.
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The Peace Corps/Vanuatu office will keep Volunteers apprised of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates are provided in Volunteer newsletters and in memorandums from the country director.  In the event of a critical situation or emergency, Volunteers will be contacted through the emergency communication network, using telephones, satellite phones and two-way radios.
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Volunteer training includes sessions on specific safety and security issues in Vanuatu. This training will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout service and is integrated into the language, cross-cultural, health, and other components of training.
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Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective roles in supporting the Volunteer. Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure housing and work sites. Site selection is based in part on any relevant site history; access to medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.
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You will also learn about Peace Corps/Vanuatu’s detailed emergency action plan (EAP), which is implemented in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site, you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to your house. If there is a security threat, Volunteers will gather with other Volunteers at a predetermined location until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.
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Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to current and future Volunteers.
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[[Category:Vanuatu]]
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[[Category:Health and Safety]]
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Revision as of 10:14, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Botswana?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Botswana?

It is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Plugs/outlets consist of both three prong round and three prong square shapes.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and bank cards are preferable to cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted by businesses in Botswana and are redeemable only at certain banks. However, they can be useful for travel to other countries during vacations. Note, too, that ATM machines are widely available and linked to the banking network in the States. Only VISA cards and cards stamped with the “PLUS” logo on the back are useable. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. All vacation plans must be approved by the Volunteer’s Batswana supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps for approval. Extended stays (those that require more leave than you have accrued) away from your site are not encouraged and must be reviewed by your Peace Corps supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps country director for a final decision.

The Peace Corps cannot provide Volunteers with vacation planning assistance. You are responsible for making reservations, purchasing tickets, and procuring the appropriate visas. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not insure personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Botswana are not allowed to drive except during an approved vacation. Many Volunteers in southern Africa find it economically advantageous to rent a car, either alone or as a group, while traveling in the region. In such cases, it is helpful to have an international driver’s license. As with other personal travel arrangements, the Peace Corps does not assist in the procurement of international driver’s licenses.

What should I bring as gifts for Batswana friends and my host family?

The Peace Corps does not encourage you to bring gifts for your family and friends during training. The provision of such gifts is an issue to be discussed and decided by the entire group of trainees, since it is precedent-setting and may have ramifications outside the gift giver’s original intent. For instance, expectations may arise in host families if some people provide gifts but others do not. Should you feel moved to provide a small token of appreciation to your host family, a wide range of suitable items are available locally.

One of the greatest gifts you can provide to your host family and friends is information about yourself and your life in the United States. For this reason, we encourage you to bring photos of the people and things that are important in your life.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until approximately six weeks into their pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. The Botswana program has a wide variety of sites, ranging from urban to periurban to rural, and Volunteers should be prepared to accept any of them, including housing in a range of options from one room for kitchen, sleeping, and pit latrine to the other extreme of two bedroom brick homes with hot water heaters.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Botswana?

Yes. Most telephones in the country can be used for international calls. Volunteers often call home and ask to be called back or prearrange a time to be called at a private phone or pay phone.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

While cellular phone services are widely available in Botswana, it is not advisable to bring a cellphone from the United States unless you check with the manufacturer and confirm that the phone will work in Botswana. In all cases, these phones are the type with SIM cards that can be changed in and out. SIM cards in Botswana cost about $15. The cost of a new cellphone in Botswana is approximately $50. Costs of phones can be covered by your moving-in allowance which Volunteers near the end of pre-service training. Yet, you will likely want to have a cell phone upon arrival so you will probably need to put money up-front and use your moving in allowance later to cover the expense. Peace Corps does not provide cellphones to Volunteers.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?

Internet service is widely available in Botswana; most larger villages and towns have Internet cafes. The choice about whether to bring a computer is an individual one. Those who decide to bring a personal computer should be aware that Botswana’s climate can be tough on sensitive equipment. In addition, peripherals like printer cartridges and disks are very expensive locally. Those who bring computers or other valuable equipment should consider purchasing personal property insurance as laptops make you a target for theft.