Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Assignment Booklets

If anyone's interested, here are some links to the assignment booklets Jennie and I received in the mail:
Jennie's Assignment
Ben's Assignment
South Africa Welcome Book

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We're Invited to Serve

Fourteen months after Jennie and I applied, we finally received our invitation last week. The Peace Corps application process can be long. We began filling out the 20 page application in January 2006 and turned in all our initial paperwork in March. Our interview was in late April 2006 and we were nominated for sub-Sahara Africa the next month. Check out our photo album from our application send-off. We were so excited - little did we know it would be another year before we'd even know if we were going!

We were asked to fill out more medical paperwork in July, then in September, and again in January. In February we completed our physicals and in early April 2007, we received our invitation. The Peace Corps is definitely thorough! But they want to make sure we're safe when living in a developing country without immediate access to doctors and our support system of family and friends, and we won't blame them for that.

We are leaving July 16 for South Africa. Jennie will serve as a Capacity Builder for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) fighting HIV/AIDS. I'm going to be a Primary Teacher Training Resource Volunteer. We celebrated our invitee status with a fancy (cheeseburger) dinner and spice cake.

Once we are "in country," we'll receive three months of language, cultural, and job training. In September, we're actually sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV). That date is the official start of our two years of service. While we're in South Africa, we do have two vacation days a month, but it is unlikely we will return to the United States; the Peace Corps pays for travel to your country of service when you begin, and they pay for the return ticket once your service has concluded, but any other airfare is our responsibility. This is really pretty generous - the Peace Corps is one of very few organizations that covers all expenses for getting to and living in the country of service.

We feel extremely lucky to have this opportunity. Living in another country on the other side of the globe should help us learn a lot about ourselves and where we are in the world. We want to thank our families and friends for the massive amount of support we've received; it means a great deal to us.

So, since we will be gone for so long, on May 10th we're beginning our cross-country farewell tour. We'll post our itinerary up here when it's ready. In the mean time, you can subscribe to receive all our posts on the right side of the screen. If you have a feed reader, you know what to do. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can use the e-mail subscription or learn how to use Google reader.