Inside the Invitation Folder we find a lot of interesting materials. The enclosed Volunteer Handbook has a lot of great information in it. There is also information for family and friends, a very well done booklet on how to deal with culture shock, and some information on the jobs we will be doing.
Our job information is in the volunteer assignment booklets, which tell us that we will be in the HIV/AIDS Capacity Building program. I will be a District Community Liaison and Tish will be a Community Capacity Builder. My job will be along the lines of Business Advising and Tish’s job will have something to do with Health. Beyond the title, we don’t know exactly what we will be doing yet, or whether it will be in a small village or larger town. We won’t know until three months after we arrive in Botswana, at the conclusion of Pre-Service Training.
Inside the invitation we also find that we have just a little more work to do.
1. Passport Forms. We will be using official US Government Passports, so we had to fill out forms for those and get them out right away. This meant finding someplace to get Passport Photos done. I have not done that in a few years and was surprised to find that you can get the photos made just about anywhere (we went to the CVS Pharmacy down the street). I looked at the picture and was also surprised to realize that I have turned into a white haired, wrinkled, old dude – when did that happen?
2. Updated Resumes. Apparently all the resumes and essays that we sent to the Peace Corps during the application process do not make it all the way to Botswana. This updated resume had to be done in a different format and will be sent to the Peace Corps staff in Botswana.
3. Also, we had to prepare an Aspiration Statement to be sent to Botswana. In this, we had to give essay-style answers to five questions. Those five questions were…
- Tell us about the professional attributes that you plan to use, and what aspirations you hope to fulfill, during your Peace Corps service.
- Tell us about your strategies for working effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs.
- Tell us about your strategies for adapting to a new culture with respect to your own cultural background.
- Tell us about the skills and knowledge you hope to gain during pre-service training to best serve your future community and project.
- Tell us about how you think Peace Corps Service will influence your personal and professional aspirations after your service ends.
The updated resumes and Aspiration Statements will be used by them to determine what specific jobs we will be doing over there and how to tailor our training.
I was feeling pretty good about my Aspiration Statement until I read Tish’s. I have to say, Tish is an amazing writer. I finished mine first, because being fun-employed I have a lot more time on my hands. Tish finally got around to doing hers and when I read it I felt that it made mine look really poor by comparison. I just hope they read mine first.
This journal could really use some of her writing skills and Tish promised me just this morning that when she stops working (her last day is December 21), she will start contributing to this journal.
So with the Passport forms done and sent, and our updated resumes and Aspiration Statements emailed to Botswana, all of a sudden we find there is nothing that we absolutely have to do right now. Of course we have a lot of things we need to be doing and thinking about, but we have five months and can take a breather for a little while.