Difference between pages "Peter Crume" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in East Timor"

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(New page: ===How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to East Timor? === Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowanc...)
 
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{{Volunteerinfobox
 
|firstname=Peter K.
 
|lastname=Crume
 
|country=Kenya
 
|yearservicestarted=1999
 
|yearserviceended=2001
 
|site= North Kinangop
 
|program=Education
 
|assignment01=Deaf Education
 
}}
 
  
My training class left for Kenya in late September 1999. All of us were teachers, assigned to either teach in secondary schools or in primary schools for the deaf.  We had a total of 20 in the training class, 15 were assigned to teach in the secondary schools, either in one of the sub-sectors of English, Math, or Science and I was among one of the five assigned to teach in a primary school for the deaf. Three people dropped out before the 10-weeks of training was over and then another dropped out two months into service. I had also contemplated leaving several times during training and in the first six-months of service, but after the shock my initial adjustment I became quite active throughout my service. 
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===How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to East Timor? ===
  
I was among the third class of deaf education volunteers. The first class finished as I did my training. We had one deaf volunteer in the first class (five total), one in the second class (eight total), two in my class (four total), two in the class after me (six total), and then two more in the class that replaced mine (five total). Few of us in deaf education actually had any experience teaching deaf children before Peace Corps service. Prior to the Peace Corps, I was professional sign language interpreter working primarily in the medical field and had just received a Masters in Adult Education in June of 1999. I knew very little about teaching deaf children. We received some training about deaf education in an primary school setting (mainly lesson planning) and training in Kenyan Sign Language.  
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. 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 authorized baggage 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 allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag. Since travel requirements may change because of circumstances beyond the Peace Corps’ control, you should remain alert for additional information regarding luggage allowances before you arrive for staging and check with the airline a few days prior to your departure.  
  
When we were assigned to our new sites, most of my training class was sent as far east to the coastal towns off the Indian Ocean, and toward the western towns that dotted Lake Victoria, and all places in-between. I was going only 20 miles away to a mountainous rural town that you could only get to by dirt road. Initially, I was disappointed, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I got a chance to be involved with the Peace Corps training center toward the latter part of my service. It was something I really enjoyed.  
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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.  
  
For my primary job, I served as a full-time teacher assigned to Nyandarua School for the Deaf in North Kinangop, Kenya. I served as one of sixteen staff teachers on staff. The school offered ten grades of study, levels equivalent to grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, with approximately 75 students.
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===What is the electric current in East Timor? ===
  
I was responsible for the following teaching and co-curricular responsibilities:
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The current is 220 volts. Any electrical appliance you bring will require a transformer, and these are readily available in Dili. Because of the varied outlets, universal plug adapters, also available in Dili, will come in handy. Power surges are common in East Timor and can cause irreversible damage to your appliances or laptops.
  
'''Teaching:'''
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===How much money should I bring? ===
Year 2000 (Each term was about 12 weeks long)
 
1st term: Grade 3: Math, English, Science, Art, and History (40 lessons per week)
 
2nd & 3rd term: 4th & 7th grade English (16 lessons per week); 6th grade Math (8 lessons per week), 7th grade Home Science (4 lessons per week)
 
  
Year 2001
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards are rarely accepted in East Timor, but are preferable to cash for out-ofcountry travel. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the
1st & 2nd term: 8th grade English (8 lessons per week), 4th-8th grade HIV (5 lessons per week); 1st-8th grade Computers (16 lessons per week)
 
3rd term: (Away from school; served as technical trainer for Peace Corps Training Center)
 
  
'''Co-curricular Activities:'''
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amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
1. Athletics Team Coach
 
- Head coach for boys soccer team
 
- Assistant coach for boys and girls volleyball team
 
  
2. School librarian
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
- Started school's first library in its 30-year history
 
- Organized and maintained over 1,000 library books and magazines
 
- Kept records of usage of books by staff and students
 
  
3. Computer Laboratory Manager
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Volunteers often state an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures as a main reason for wanting to join the Peace Corps. You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel around East Timor and to other countries in the region.  Each Volunteer accumulates 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. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance, nor can it provide health care in the case of a visitor’s accident or illness.
- Wrote a grant proposal worth $3,150 for five Pentium-3 based computers, a printer, and office and educational software
 
- Taught basic computer theory, Windows OS, and assorted software packages (Microsoft Office, Educational games) to students and staff members
 
- Established income generating Internet and e-mail services for the school
 
  
'''Additional Activities:'''
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Extended stays at your site by visitors are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director.  Consistent with the Peace Corps’ worldwide policy of not permitting nonmarried couples to serve together, Peace Corps/East Timor does not permit non-Volunteer “significant others” to establish permanent residence with Volunteers during their service.
  
School Activities:
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
- Conducted numerous workshops to improve student reading skills
 
- Trained fellow Kenyan teachers in Kenyan Sign Language, culture of the deaf, and instructional strategies and techniques for deaf children
 
- Trained Kenyan colleagues in grant writing techniques and assisted teachers in writing an income generating dairy project and water tank proposals
 
  
HIV/AIDS Activities:
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for 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 are cautioned not to 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.
- Conducted over 20 HIV/AIDS lectures to stafff and students of neighboring primary and secondary schools in North Kinangop
 
- Conducted over 15 HIV/AIDS lectures to deaf youth and deaf adults in the central and western regions of Kenya
 
- Trained Kenyan colleagues to become HIV/AIDS educators
 
- Planned, coordinated, and facilitated a national HIV/AIDS outreach to the deaf community conference in Nairobi hosted by Peace Corps Kenya
 
  
Peace Corps Training Center Initiatives and Activities:
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
- Collaborated in facilitating a national Kenyan Sign Language interpreting workshop
 
- Conducted numerous lectures on instructional strategies and techniques to fellow Peace Corps volunteers and trainees
 
- Collaborated in developing and organizing a Kenyan Sign Language training manual for use by the training center
 
- Provided training and guidance for new Kenyan technical trainer for the deaf education sector
 
- Provided technical training and support for six Peace Corps trainees in the deaf education sector during the training cycle in fall 2001
 
- Piloted Kenyan Sign Language ACTFL language assessment test for the training center
 
- Served as sign language interpreter for deaf Peace Corps volunteers and trainees
 
  
Additional Activities:
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Volunteers in East Timor do not need to get an international driver’s license. Operation of motorized vehicles is prohibited. Most urban travel is by minibus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks, bicycles, and lots of walking.
- Wrote a proposal to Peace Corps Kenya administration to expand Peace Corps programs geared toward deaf populations in Kenya to include Health and Small - Enterprise Development
 
- Wrote a paper discussing the problems and issues of education of the deaf in Kenya
 
- Conducted Kenyan Sign Language training to 15 hearing worked at the Oserian Flower Farm in Naivasha
 
  
'''Thoughts and reflections of my Peace Corps experience:'''
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===What should I bring as gifts for East Timorese friends and my host family? ===
There's hardly a day that goes by when I don't think about my two years that I served in Kenya with the Peace Corps. The first year of service was a tremendous psychological struggle of feeling extremely isolated and alone in a country that was so different than what I was used to. The constant greetings of "How are you" said in a nasal pitch was cute the first 20 times, but quite annoying after the 10,000 time. I could never understand why hotels always had bars that blared music until 3am, and why religious revivals were allowed to blare all night long and keep everyone up within a one mile radius. Despite some of these negatives, I learned so much about myself, I accomplished a lot, grew tremendously as a person, and made lifelong memories and friends. My Peace Corps experience has certainly changed me and how I view Kenya, the African continent, and much of the world.
 
  
'''Current major life paths because of Peace Corps service.'''
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While this is not a requirement, bringing a small token of friendship is certainly acceptable. Lavish gifts are discouraged. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; photos to give away; or hard candies or biscuits, which can be purchased locally.  
Currently, I am at the University of Illinois pursuing doctoral degree in Educational Psychology with an interest in the language development and socialization of deaf children. It's a field of study I never would have even considered before Peace Corps service. It took a Kenyan colleague to suggest the idea to me for me to realize what an ideal field of study it was for me and again I am forever indebted to my friends I made in Kenya.
 
  
One of the initial attractions that both my wife and I had toward each other was  that we spent significant time abroad before we met each other. She spent two years in Russia and I spent time in Kenya. We met just a few months after I returned from service. We currently have a beautiful and very happy little toddler who wreaks havoc throughout the house while laughing and giggling the whole time.
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
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Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until several weeks into their pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites and to finalize site selections with their counterparts. If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, or living conditions. However, many factors influence the site selection process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you might ideally like to be. Most Volunteers will live in small towns or in rural villages, but will usually be within a few hours from the nearest Volunteer. Some sites will require a six- to 12-hour drive from Dili.
  
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
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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; select option 2, then 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; select option 2, then extension 2502 or 2522.
  
 
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===Can I call home from East Timor? ===
  
[[category:Volunteers]]
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Cellular phones, rather than fixed-line phones, are the norm in East Timor. While cellphones do not reach most areas outside the capital, overseas calls are easy to make from Dili with cellphones. The cost of calls to the U.S. varies but averages about $1 per minute.
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 +
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
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A cellphone from the United States will not work in East Timor because of different programming protocols. However, cellphones are readily available for purchase in East Timor at a cost of $100 to $200. The phone cards used to charge the phones for use are regularly sold in the capital.
 +
 
 +
===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
 +
 
 +
While there is limited Internet and e-mail access in East Timor, it is very unlikely that e-mail access will be available at your site. Currently, there are computers available for limited Volunteer use in the Volunteer office. There are a few Internet cafes in Dili, but they are expensive ($8 per hour). Volunteers may bring computers if they wish, but the Peace Corps cannot reimburse Volunteers for damage to or loss of computers.  Many sites have no access to electricity and others have electricity for only a few hours each day. Breakdowns are frequent because of inconsistent electrical currents.  Maintenance and repair of electronic equipment is difficult and quite costly in East Timor. Volunteers should insure items such as computers and expensive cameras, audio equipment, and the like before leaving the United States.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:East Timor]]

Revision as of 16:17, 31 March 2008

How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to East Timor?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. 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 authorized baggage 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 allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag. Since travel requirements may change because of circumstances beyond the Peace Corps’ control, you should remain alert for additional information regarding luggage allowances before you arrive for staging and check with the airline a few days prior to your departure.

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 East Timor?

The current is 220 volts. Any electrical appliance you bring will require a transformer, and these are readily available in Dili. Because of the varied outlets, universal plug adapters, also available in Dili, will come in handy. Power surges are common in East Timor and can cause irreversible damage to your appliances or laptops.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards are rarely accepted in East Timor, but are preferable to cash for out-ofcountry travel. 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?

Volunteers often state an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures as a main reason for wanting to join the Peace Corps. You are encouraged to use your vacation time to travel around East Timor and to other countries in the region. Each Volunteer accumulates 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. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance, nor can it provide health care in the case of a visitor’s accident or illness.

Extended stays at your site by visitors are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. Consistent with the Peace Corps’ worldwide policy of not permitting nonmarried couples to serve together, Peace Corps/East Timor does not permit non-Volunteer “significant others” to establish permanent residence with Volunteers during their service.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for 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 are cautioned not to 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 East Timor do not need to get an international driver’s license. Operation of motorized vehicles is prohibited. Most urban travel is by minibus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks, bicycles, and lots of walking.

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

While this is not a requirement, bringing a small token of friendship is certainly acceptable. Lavish gifts are discouraged. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; photos to give away; or hard candies or biscuits, which can be purchased locally.

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 several weeks into their pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites and to finalize site selections with their counterparts. If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, or living conditions. However, many factors influence the site selection process and the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you might ideally like to be. Most Volunteers will live in small towns or in rural villages, but will usually be within a few hours from the nearest Volunteer. Some sites will require a six- to 12-hour drive from Dili.

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; select option 2, then 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; select option 2, then extension 2502 or 2522.

Can I call home from East Timor?

Cellular phones, rather than fixed-line phones, are the norm in East Timor. While cellphones do not reach most areas outside the capital, overseas calls are easy to make from Dili with cellphones. The cost of calls to the U.S. varies but averages about $1 per minute.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

A cellphone from the United States will not work in East Timor because of different programming protocols. However, cellphones are readily available for purchase in East Timor at a cost of $100 to $200. The phone cards used to charge the phones for use are regularly sold in the capital.

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

While there is limited Internet and e-mail access in East Timor, it is very unlikely that e-mail access will be available at your site. Currently, there are computers available for limited Volunteer use in the Volunteer office. There are a few Internet cafes in Dili, but they are expensive ($8 per hour). Volunteers may bring computers if they wish, but the Peace Corps cannot reimburse Volunteers for damage to or loss of computers. Many sites have no access to electricity and others have electricity for only a few hours each day. Breakdowns are frequent because of inconsistent electrical currents. Maintenance and repair of electronic equipment is difficult and quite costly in East Timor. Volunteers should insure items such as computers and expensive cameras, audio equipment, and the like before leaving the United States.