Africa: the Packet!

I got my packet yesterday from Cross Cultural Solutions, along with a card from my best friend congratulating me on winning the trip.  Not a shabby mail day.  It sure beats bills, anyway.

The packet.  It included:

  • A welcome letter,
  • Some terms and conditions,
  • Stickers (yay!),
  • My (volunteer) placement guide,
  • My Participant Handbook for Kilimanjaro,
  • The Volunteer Abroad Program Handbook (i.e. the Rules),
  • A luggage tag, and
  • A t-shirt.  Boy, do l have enough of those to clothe a small village  love me a t-shirt.  (You can also get a t-shirt, or some other stuff too!  10% of all purchases go to CCS.)
I read through all of it immediately.  It answered some questions.  Some of the information is generic and reminds us to be flexible and that kind of stuff.  As much as I like to obsess plan and know what to expect, I’m okay with not knowing either. I’m pretty used to the “hurry up and wait” that goes on in places.  I know to bring a book with me (Always Bring A Book). I had to make up my job in Samoa.  I work at a University now where I still make up my job have some flexibility with what I do.  That being said, I know it will be overwhelming and information overload while I’m there and attempting (probably badly) another language and making a complete fool of myself.  Good thing I got used to that in Samoa.  After playing competitive dress-up in the village, making speeches and being told to “Siva!” my once former ego is fairly non-existent.  Palagi and Mzungu seem like pretty interchangeable terms.
Reading the packet was definitely a good thing, and also a reminder to let some things go.  And to pick up a book that a friend sent me before I left for Peace Corps all those years ago – a collection of letters that a volunteer in Kenya and her friend in New York sent back and forth.  I’ve read it several times, but I think it’s time to read it again.
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