Wednesday, July 16, 2008
What is really interesting for me to think about is that while I am over here waiting and excited to go to Zambia, there is a host family there that is awaiting their American host son. Problem is, I am not sure what that are going to think when they see me walk through their door. For most people around the world, an American is white; so its going to be shocking for my host family to see a short brown guy come in. I am still not sure how to respond to statements like, "you are not an american", "you are not white, how can you be American?". Guess I will figure it out when I get there.
So for you guys stateside that want a taste of Peace Corps/Zambian life you should write me to keep in touch. I will write back, but the mail system on that side of the world is rather slow. So dont worry if you dont get a response right away, just number your letters and we can keep track. Also because I am working with the US government, I get care packages priced very afford ably, so you can send me things like oreos, pasta, sauce, curry, sri racha hot sauce, and photos. Also on packages, you need to mark it as religious materials with a value of ten dollars or less so people will be tempted to see the goods from the States. My address is
P.O. Box 50707
At least that is what it is for training. It may change afterwords.
So I guess thats it for now guys. Pabba out.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A. I know that to be accepted professionally, I must dress and act professionally. I must present myself in a professional manner, to be awake, courteous, attentive and flexible. I plan to be courteous of the social customs in business and personal situations, realizing the manner of saying something in the American culture may be offensive or insulting in the Zambian culture. I plan strengthening my patience; those that greet me will not feel rushed or insulted by my presence. I will also remember that I am on a journey to learn, and that what I know today will change tomorrow and even more so within the next two years. Using the resources given to me I will continue to educate myself to make me not only a better volunteer but a better person as well. It is a journey that I feel honored to take. I aspire to learn a new language and not just speak it, but also communicate with it. I aspire to make an impact; whether large or small, I hope to be of service. I aspire to push myself to the limit and get as much out of my projects as possible. I aspire to not just learn a new culture, but to embrace it and become a part of it.
B. My strategies for working effectively include being an active participant and listener. To understand all aspects of a project, what the need is, what the cost is and where funding is coming from, and the most important part of all that is to take it and organize it into a feasible plan for action. Also another strategy is not to avoid conflict, because working in group’s conflict is inevitable, but to work through it and find a resolution that works for everybody. I will use my host country’s professionals as a source of advice and information, as they are more knowledgeable about Zambia than I am. I plan on building honest relationships with everyone I work with in order to be respected and show that I respect them.
C. My strategy to adapting a new culture will be to have a sense of humor and flexibility. I understand that any pre-conceived notions on how my life in Zambia may be correct or incorrect and I will adapt to what ever comes my way. I will try to see the culture through their eyes and understand their social mores and try to eliminate outsider biases. I will keep an open mind to all new situations and try my best to adapt. As someone of Indian decent I understand that there are different ways to act in different situations. Also going to a University that allowed for multiple ethnic groups I learned what was acceptable in each group and what was not, allowing for myself to have cultural flexibility. I will be open to new things and people and show that I am approachable. I will use humor to keep from getting frustrated at the differences I may experience during my service and try to keep a positive demeanor with those around me.
D. By the end of Pre-service training I hope to a solid base of one of the language options for Zambia and continue to learn the language after pre-service training on a daily basis as well as understanding non-verbal language. I hope to learn the cultural norms, values and beliefs of the people of Zambia so I may reduce the chances of offending anybody. I hope to understand what the Peace Corps expects of me and I am able to accomplish this.
I hope to gain insight of the people I will be working with to help relationships go smoothly. I will lean during pre-service how to integrate myself with the host family and convey my respect and thankfulness to them for letting me live with them. I hope to understand all the resource materials the Peace Corps offers me and utilize them to the fullest extent.
E. The influence of the Peace Corps on my personal and professional goals is a strong one. I didn’t decide to join the Peace Corps because I am a college graduate and wasn’t sure what to do. I joined because I wanted to gain the cultural experience and knowledge the Peace Corps offers as well as help out as much as I can. My personal goals are to learn the language and culture of Zambia, push myself to do more and succeed, maintain patience and flexibility, participate in cultural events and complete my term. I hope that my term with the Peace Corps will provide me with the skill set and courage that can be used throughout my life as I work towards becoming a doctor and working with an NGO. My goal with the Peace Corps is to get the skills to help wherever life may take me.