01.05.04 - 21:48
i find this page slightly idiotic - what do i really know that any of you guys out there don't? yet, due to requests, like pearls from the mouth of a wise sage atop a craggy mountain, here is my...
ADVICE FOR NEW PCVs
* no matter how prepared you think you are... well, you're not. just relax and take it a day at a time. experience is the best - and only - teacher. remember that for all the difficulties, there are also moments of sheer bliss. and vice versa.
* talk to your friendly current PCVs. we've been there. we know what you're feeling (and going to feel.) we are invested in you - you're going to be part of our elite little cadre and we want to see you succeed and be happy. (well, those of us who are not raving psychotics...) so don't be a stranger! we're excited to meet you!
* when you need something from the peace corps - especially security or health related - push hard until you get it. let no one intimidate you with authority. listen to their advice, if it fits, but remember that only you know what's best for you. and your number one priority is to keep safe and healthy. work is second.
* set limits right from the very beginning. we americans have the tendency to be very polite. mauritanians aren't. this is NOT to say that they are bad people or that they don't care. the methods of communication are just different. so you need to say very clearly, and right at the beginning, such things as: "my room is private and no one may go in there unless i invite him/her", "i will only eat with you if everyone sharing this plate washes their hands with soap.", "sexual harassment is NOT ok and i will not stand for it", "i am here to help, but not to give money". please try to be clear about important points like these right from the beginning, even if you feel like you're being harsh. you're not; you're just speaking their language. and you'll be much more effective and happier in the long run.