I swore in on August 22, and I have been at site for over a month now. I feel like I can officially check this off! My experience thus far has been nothing less than incredible, and it is a pity words cannot describe the awesomeness that is Madagascar. I occasionally blog at http://jessz.livejournal.com and post photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/jessicasicard. Will post more photos when I get to a city with a fast net connection. :)
www.crossculturalsolutions.org/ Volunteer Abroad 1-12 Weeks. Like a Mini Peace Corps. Enroll Now
TweyelyteZone has written 15 entries about this goal
I anticipated my placement person’s phone call last week, but I was not expecting it on a Saturday! When I answered the call, I was on a crowded subway in Paris on my way home from checking out the good shopping deals in Montmartre. With screaming children and tourists in the background, I insisted she call back when I got home. I found a quiet place in my room close to the window as reception is weak here and answered her final questions. She accepted me over the phone and she told me she would send my invite material via email in 15 minutes. Those must have been the longest 15 minutes of my life! I was so happy, and I did not even know the country yet! When the email arrived I was chatting with a good friend who is serving in Panama, and I was pleased she could be the first know I am going to Madagascar! I could not be happier to be assigned to such a fascinating country rich with unique wildlife and culture. I plan to call PC placement later today and officially accept my assignment. I leave June 9th.
Funny thing is I went to a Peace Corps event in Pasadena a while back where I spent a large part of my evening talking with two recently returned volunteers from Madagascar who told me about how they missed what they once thought was a weird dish: caterpillars and cockroaches. I downloaded episodes of Man vs. Wild and will make myself watch them in preparation for my Madagascar adventure and service.
Received word PC put a DSL packet in the mail for me today. Maybe the legal and placement clearance were so quick the computer hasn’t notified me about the status message, and that is the golden packet I’ve been dreaming about since August?!?
It took a while getting the final details in being in France and Morocco the past two months, but I finally got those in last week and got my status message today, yay! Huge weight off my shoulders.
Sometimes I think one must have to be independently wealthy to apply to the Peace Corps. I keep incurring unexpected expenses…today’s was $85 just for having my doctor initial a few things. I am now experiencing the going back and forth of my medical packet, and it is miserable and expensive. On top of that I am getting ready to move to France next week for a short term program so…whew…I just need to breath. I dream (and perhaps drool) about the day I receive that email saying my status has changed, and my application has moved to the placement office.
Just got the status message today. W00t!
Wow, I can’t believe I forgot to update about that. The doctor finally got well, and I finally got his signature. I sent out my packet last week and now I play the waiting game…
Everything is done except the doctor that has to sign off on my paperwork has been sick for the past week. If I knew where he lived I would personally deliver the papers and a basket of DayQuill.
I’ve had a bit of a depression spell lately. A friend serving in Panama wrote me a letter and it brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I question whether I can handle the loneliness. Today was a better day though.
I received some spam mail that included a world map and it gave me the idea to figure out which countries I am more likely to end moving to for the Peace Corps. Because I am officially nominated for a French-speaking African country I focused on Africa. I started by blacking out African countries the Peace Corps does not serve followed by the four I told them I would not serve: Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Guinea. Personally I have nothing against these countries but the Red Cross tells me they will not let me donate blood for the rest of my life after having been. A new strain of the HIV virus can be found in said countries, and the Red Cross does not have the capabilities of testing for this which is why they simply do not accept blood from people who have been there.
Next I took into consideration the remaining countries that do not speak French. After blacking out those I came up with a list of 8 African countries: Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, and Madagascar. Furthering this research, I found that there are three other places the Peace Corps serves that speaks French: Eastern Caribbean, Cambodia and Vanuatu. My recruiter seems fully confident I will serve somewhere that needs French, so unless they decide they do not need my French skills those are the possibilities.
I feel good now that I have done this research. I read about each country on Wikipedia tonight and I think each one has some charm. I am feeling a little less depressed today now that I have a better idea of what the future may hold. Then again they are known for changing everything at the last minute, and I could end up in China.
Wowzers, I am getting all of my appointments in order and it looks like the exams will be pricey! I am glad there a reimbursement program of sorts.
On another note my recruiter sent out my nomination letter over a week ago and it hasn’t reached my house yet (which is odd because we are in the same county). There have been changes at my local post office, and I haven’t been receiving other mail either…I am getting so anxious!
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