We took the oath of office on 9 Mar 2017 and swore in as new Peace Corps Volunteers with 46 of our colleagues.
Where are we now and what are we doing?
Immediately after our ceremony at the local city hall, all of us grabbed our bags and traveled to our new homes for the next two years.
We are now in the department (equivalent of a US state) of San Pedro and can provide contact information if anyone needs it. (We prefer not to publish that online.) You can also check our social media for updates.
We recently posted on the type of development work we might be engaged in for the next 24 months. We’ll be posting to this blog as things unfold.
Right now we are settling into our community, working on our language skills, and gathering information for a community needs assessment that should help us determine useful lines of effort.
Peace Corps pre-service training summary
Following a brief orientation (staging) in Washington, DC, we flew to Paraguay to begin 10 weeks of pre-service training.
Pre-service training was about eight hours of training per day.
The mornings were typically language. If you tested out of Spanish, it was all Guaraní, which is the second official language in Paraguay. Angela will be posting about Guaraní soon.
The afternoons were usually technical training. Examples:
- The education system and how to teach in the local context
- Local government
- History and culture
- Cross sector training (teaching english, environment and agricultural projects, STI awareness training, etc)
- Measurement, evaluation, and reporting
- Project case studies
- Business consulting
- The local healthcare system
- Development in Peace Corps
Current volunteers would often give the training and provide examples of projects we could do in site.
Host family – language and culture
We traveled away from the training center for several field training sessions. All of us visited a volunteer for half a week early in training to get a more concrete idea of what Peace Corps expects us to do.
Later, we traveled again for long field practice to test out what we had learned so far and see a different kind of community. For example, if you saw an urban site during your volunteer visit, they tried to send you to a more rural one for long field.
Finally, after site placement in week eight we spent five days in our future assignments to test the waters and start making contacts.
During training we gave multiple practice charlas (lectures/classes). Some of these were in front of fellow trainees and others were out in the training community. For example, Angela gave a health talk to a local Zumba class as part of her Aspirantes en Acción project. My project focussed on marketing training.
Not a small part of PST. Lack of privacy, culture shock, a new diet, speaking in another language, etc.
Everyone had their own methods for staying healthy. Exercise was a big part of the equation for us and quite a few of our colleagues. Soccer, jogging, Zumba, Insanity, yoga, walking, you name it. Five of us even managed to run in a local 5k race.
So ends pre-service training. Stay tuned for the next 24 months of our Peace Corps service.