Thursday, August 7, 2008

If You Live...

I get this comment a lot: That'll be fun, if you live.

I am going to live. The Peace Corps is 100% proactive in its care for the welfare of a Volunteer. If I don't live, think of the party you will have at my wake - I jokes.

My point is that everyone needs to stop worrying (or at least stop worrying out loud). I think it is making my dad nervous.

If you really are concerned, read this (I copied this from a PDF the Peace Corps provides for Friends and Family):

KEY POINTS ABOUT SAFETY AND SECURITY IN THE PEACE CORPS

In matters of safety and security, the Peace Corps makes the following key assumptions:

Serving as a Volunteer Involves Safety and Security Risks

Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assaults do occur.

Volunteers Are Expected to Adopt a Culturally Appropriate Lifestyle to Promote Their Safety

Being a Volunteer requires changes in lifestyle preferences and habits in deference to host country cultural expectations and in order to minimize security risks. Choices in dress, living arrangements, means of travel, entertainment, and companionship may have a direct impact on how Volunteers are viewed, and thus treated, by their communities. Navigating the differences in gender relations may be one of the most sensitive and difficult lessons to learn, but one which could have a direct impact on the Volunteer's safety and the protection provided by the local community. Mature behavior and the exercise of sound judgment will enhance personal safety.

Each Peace Corps Post Maintains a Volunteer Safety Support System Designed to Minimize Safety Risks, as Prescribed by Peace Corps Policy

Fundamental to the Peace Corps approach to Volunteer safety is the fact that Volunteers can most effectively minimize their safety risks by building respectful relationships with those in their community. The Peace Corps has instituted a broad and systematic approach to increase Volunteers' capacity to keep themselves safe during their two-year service. This approach is based upon several fundamental tenets of Volunteer safety and security. These include: building relationships, sharing information, training, site development, incident reporting and response, and emergency communications and planning. Read more about these tenets here.