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

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{{FAQs by country}}
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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. 
  
 +
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.
  
 +
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.
  
===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Turkmenistan? ===
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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.
  
The Peace Corps will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceed airline limits. The current baggage allowance is 2 pieces per person each weighing a maximum of 23 kg (50 lbs.) and maximum dimensions of 158 cm (62 in.) (addition of L+W+H). Maximum weight allowed is 45 kg (100 lbs.) Airline regulations vary and change as a result of factors beyond the control of Peace Corps. For bags exceeding 23 kg (50 lbs.) and up to 32 kg/pc (70 lbs.) a flat fee of $25 per piece is charged. If the bag exceeds 32 kg (70 lbs.) or the maximum dimension of 158 cm (62 in.) an additional fee of $180 to $200 (depending on destination) is charged. Carry-on luggage must conform to airline policies. These conditions apply for most of the European and major U.S. carriers, but flights to and from certain countries and on specific airlines will vary. Many things can be bought here, especially clothing items, toiletries, etc. Think long and hard about what you pack and consider doing some of your shopping here.
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I was responsible for the following teaching and co-curricular responsibilities:
  
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. Please check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permittedprohibited-items.shtm.
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'''Teaching:'''
 +
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)
  
===What is the electric current in Turkmenistan? ===
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Year 2001
 +
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)
  
The electric current in Turkmenistan is 220 volts. If you bring any appliances with you, a small, universal power converter would be very helpful. A surge protector is also highly recommended.  
+
'''Co-curricular Activities:'''
 +
1. Athletics Team Coach
 +
- Head coach for boys soccer team
 +
- Assistant coach for boys and girls volleyball team
  
===How much money should I bring? ===
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2. School librarian
 +
- 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
  
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, this is a good idea if you plan on taking vacations outside of Turkmenistan. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash for trips. If you choose to bring extra money, bring an amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.
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3. Computer Laboratory Manager
 +
- 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
  
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
+
'''Additional Activities:'''
  
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 after the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work.  Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. A local travel company in Ashgabat can help arrange the documents needed for a visit.
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School Activities:
 +
- 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
  
===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
+
HIV/AIDS Activities:
 +
- 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
  
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 such 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.
+
Peace Corps Training Center Initiatives and Activities:
 +
- 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
  
===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
+
Additional Activities:
 +
- 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
  
Volunteers in Turkmenistan do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking. It is a good idea to renew your US driver’s license if it will expire while you are overseas.  
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'''Thoughts and reflections of my Peace Corps experience:'''
 +
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.  
  
===What should I bring as gifts for Turkmen friends and my host family? ===
+
'''Current major life paths because of Peace Corps service.'''
 +
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.
  
Gifts are not required, but we encourage you to bring something small to give to your host family when you meet them at the end of your first week in-country. You may also want to bring a similar gift for the second host family with whom you will live at your permanent worksite for a minimum of six months after beginning your service. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.  
+
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.  
  
===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
 
  
Peace Corps trainees are assigned to individual sites during pre-service training, after the Peace Corps staff has the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills and finalize site selections with ministry counterparts.
 
  
If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions.  However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. You will have an opportunity to visit your permanent site for a few days during training. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.
 
  
===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 non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.
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[[category:Volunteers]]
 
 
===Can I call home from Turkmenistan? ===
 
 
 
Yes. Although there is direct-dial access in some regions of the country, in most areas international calls (except those to other CIS countries) must be booked through an operator, which can cause significant delays in placing calls. The current rate for calls to United States is approximately $1 per minute; there are no discounted periods.
 
 
 
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
 
 
 
No, because you probably will not be able to use it in Turkmenistan. Cellphone coverage is limited but is becoming available in more areas of the country. Satellite phones also are rare, and having one might make Turkmen think you are a spy.
 
 
 
===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
 
 
 
Internet access is very limited, so most Volunteers do not have regular access to e-mail. It is a good idea to explain this to family and friends so that they do not worry when they do not hear from you often. Some Volunteers bring laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves; the Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance. Because of the high value of laptops, owners significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of crime. You probably will not find the same level of technical assistance and service here as you would at home, and replacement parts could take months to arrive. Also note that gaining Internet access via your laptop is only a remote possibility because few Volunteers have telephone lines in their home or adequate lines in their community or place of work. If you bring a laptop, be sure to buy a surge protector, as electrical lapses and surges are common.
 
 
 
[[Category:Turkmenistan]]
 

Revision as of 00:17, 3 January 2009



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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.

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.

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.

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.

I was responsible for the following teaching and co-curricular responsibilities:

Teaching: 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 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: 1. Athletics Team Coach - Head coach for boys soccer team - Assistant coach for boys and girls volleyball team

2. School librarian - 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 - 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:

School Activities: - 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: - 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: - 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: - 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: 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. 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.