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 Message Boards » » So I Guess I'm Going to Africa for Two Years Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 ... 27, Prev Next  
TreeTwista10
Forgetful Jones
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also ncsuapex already made that joke

also there is some movie on netflix streaming where Raekwon and Bubba Sparxxx and some others go check out the diamond industry over there, good watch

6/11/2012 1:27:05 AM

hey now
Indianapolis Jones
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Listen to this on continuous loop during the plane ride there.

6/11/2012 1:50:58 AM

3 of 11
All American
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Condoms, AK-47, and bug spray

6/11/2012 1:56:14 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Condoms are provided in great heaping quantities by PC. Seriously -- almost everything I read by people who have been in it go into great, un-ironic detail about the sheer volume of the largess of condoms presented to volunteers during virtually every interaction with higher-ups.

Bug spray will be provided in less prodigious quantities, but still (supposedly) enough to help. More importantly you get plenty of mosquito netting and anti-malarials.

AK-47s would be illegal for me to have by both US and Beninese standards.

6/11/2012 2:14:36 AM

hey now
Indianapolis Jones
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Not so sure about the AK47 being illegal part. I'd call PC if I were you and make sure its a no-no.

6/11/2012 2:28:07 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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I get that you're joking, but let's all bear in mind that this is an organization that will kick me out, immediately, no-questions-asked, if I attempt to operate a motor vehicle.

6/11/2012 3:01:14 AM

wdprice3
BinaryBuffonary
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Sounds like a shitty organization

6/11/2012 8:10:16 AM

RattlerRyan
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I took Malarone when I was studying abroad in Africa, and had no side effects other than some occasional intense dreams. REI sells 99% DEET called jungle juice, one little dab will do ya and a little bottle lasts a long time.

Do you have an environmental and/or educational background/degree? Did you elect to work in Africa specifically?

6/11/2012 8:39:16 AM

GrumpyGOP
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Quote :
"Sounds like a shitty organization"


Sounds like an organization that realized that the vast majority of volunteer deaths were because of motor vehicle accidents.

Quote :
"Do you have an environmental and/or educational background/degree?"


I would not have said so, honestly. I volunteered a lot at the Natural Science Center of Greensboro during middle/high school, and apparently that was the deciding factor. So much so, in fact, that early on I got a call from my recruiter: "Hey, on your application it says you worked there four years. On this other sheet it says you worked there five. If you did five we're fine. If you just did four, I can't nominate you."

I was also a substitute teacher for a while, and volunteered briefly with Wake County Schools as an ESOL assistant. But my degree is in International Relations.

Quote :
"Did you elect to work in Africa specifically?"


No, I didn't bother putting regional preferences in the application. They aren't taken into much consideration, and if you're adamant about a certain area they probably just throw out your application entirely.

Originally they nominated me for Central/South America, which had me excited -- I'd been to Peru and had a blast, and I already speak very good Spanish (I would have called myself fluent years ago, now I'm rusty). That would mean my training could focus on technical stuff and local languages (Guarani, for instance).

When I got my final phone interview, the woman said, "Well, the program we nominated you for got shut down due to drug violence. How'd you like to go to French-speaking Africa?"
"Sure. Though I don't speak any French."
"It's easy to teach French to Spanish speakers."
"I'll take your word for it."

6/11/2012 12:31:26 PM

Beethoven
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Nevermind - I don't need to know your high school. Will you have the ability to post pictures while you're there? Is the internet consistent?

[Edited on June 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM. Reason : ]

6/11/2012 1:29:40 PM

BigMan157
no u
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the entirety of Africa has to share a single dial-up connection

6/11/2012 1:42:04 PM

Beethoven
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I have a friend in Nigeria, and she's got internet whenever the power is on (which is usually a few hours a day), but they pay by the use, so it's too expensive to upload pictures most of the time. That's why I asked.

6/11/2012 1:46:09 PM

KE4ZNR
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Did ya have a chance to test out some batteries in that SW Radio yet?

I do hope it ends up being a good connection back home

6/11/2012 5:47:53 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Quote :
"Will you have the ability to post pictures while you're there? Is the internet consistent?"


The internet is not likely to be consistent. Only about a third of enviro volunteers have electricity running to their homes. I'll be able to go to internet cafes and the like, but the connection is liable to be too slow to upload much. Probably the best chance will be during periodic (every few months) visits to the Peace Corps office in Cotonou.

I'm also planning to send SD cards home through the mail to get them put onto computers and, hopefully, uploaded to some sort of blog.

Quote :
"Did ya have a chance to test out some batteries in that SW Radio yet?"


Yep, it works! Thanks again.

6/11/2012 8:59:29 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Departure in one week. I've got my bags packed already, though I'll probably reconfigure them between now and then. The farewell party has come and gone. And I'm quietly freaking right the fuck out, a condition that is not helped by my mom, who is very loudly and constantly freaking right the fuck out.

One point of pride is that I'm coming in well under the luggage allowance, which will earn me credibility among the staff and current volunteers in much the same way as shanking a larger inmate gets you respect in prison. And I've benefited from a lot of generous friends and family who have provided me with some neat gear, including:

-A camelback M.U.L.E
-A voltaic solar charger
-A shortwave radio (thanks to KE4ZNR for that one!)
-Sturdy new backback
-A wealth of DVDs
-A pocket-sized device that has all of the English-language text from wikipedia stored on it

And more, but those are the big ones that leap to mind.

6/17/2012 10:53:09 PM

theDuke866
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Quote :
"REI sells 99% DEET called jungle juice, one little dab will do ya and a little bottle lasts a long time."


Keep it off of anything plastic! I had straight DEET melt the face of a watch once!


Minus the lack of pay, the long-term isolation, and presumably potentially negative short-term impact to the available dating pool, it sounds like a blast.

I know that aside from the shitty food, celibacy, and separation from my daughter, I enjoyed the hell out of my deployments, even if I was livIng in a shipping container or a plywood shack.

6/17/2012 11:11:08 PM

GrumpyGOP
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Quote :
"Minus the lack of pay, the long-term isolation, and presumably potentially negative short-term impact to the available dating pool, it sounds like a blast."


I've generally been unemployed or drastically underemployed for some time, so the lack of pay isn't a huge blow (in fact, with them covering my health and medical stuff plus low cost of living and favorable exchange rate, in some regards I'll be better-paid than either of my last few jobs).

Long-term isolation is worrying, but I try to bear in mind that as things are, I live in the woods and rarely get to see most of my friends.

My "available dating pool" is about to be revolutionized in a big and positive way. About 65% of Peace Corps volunteers are female, the vast majority are young (just getting out of college), and as a general rule it's hard for fat people to be volunteers (though somehow I made it). So there's going to be more American females than males, they're virtually all single and in the appropriate age range, they're going to all be college-educated.

Meanwhile I'm part of a small cadre of males who are American, speak English, and are certified AIDS-free. My dating pool has never been and will never be better than what the Peace Corps provides.

All of this ignores the locals, who will throw themselves at Americans for a variety of reasons, including status, perceived wealth, American visas, normal slutification, and possibly even sincere romantic interest.

[Edited on June 17, 2012 at 11:21 PM. Reason : ]

6/17/2012 11:21:36 PM

settledown
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what do you mean when you say that you "live in the woods"?

6/17/2012 11:28:24 PM

TreeTwista10
Forgetful Jones
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6/17/2012 11:32:07 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Quote :
"what do you mean when you say that you "live in the woods"?"


I live in a normal middle-class house, but it's pretty far into the woods. I can't see any neighbors, or walk to any of their houses in less than about 15 minutes. Our driveway alone is a mile long, gravel, and includes a wooden bridge over a creek.

6/18/2012 12:43:55 AM

GrumpyGOP
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Fun conversation I've been having a lot lately:

"So you studied Spanish for how long?"
"About ten years. Most of middle school, and then every semester through high school and undergrad at college."
"Ten years of Spanish, huh? And what do they speak in Benin?"
"Uh...French."
"Welp, let me know how that works out for you."

And occasionally it comes from people I knew in High School who I mocked for studying French, which I considered to be a useless language.

6/18/2012 11:57:35 PM

skokiaan
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Close enough

6/19/2012 12:00:05 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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We're in the home stretch now. I haven't slept through the night all week.

6/22/2012 12:40:45 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Just saw this again and decided to respond:

Quote :
"I bet it has way more to do with the feasibility of drug testing in the 70s as opposed to now rather than any sort of change in policy."


I've not been drug tested at any point (and I leave on Sunday). Moreover, I've heard over and over from volunteers that they don't test during service. So plenty of people still smoke and get away with it.

THAT SAID...

Back in dad's day, you could get caught with a garbage bag full of buds and it might well be shrugged off. Nowadays, it's "one-and-done" in most countries. If you get caught -- hell, even accused in some circumstances -- you're on the next plane out of country, with none of the benefits and no good reference. So the chance of being caught hasn't necessarily gone up, but the penalty is many times higher. Remember, if you've gone through all of the bullshit of joining the Peace Corps -- a year or more of applying, medical clearance, legal clearance, carefully managing finances, and waiting and waiting and waiting -- you must be taking it fairly seriously. So "getting kicked out" is pretty serious just for that reason, to say nothing of the loss of funds and benefits (some of which, like NCE in federal jobs, are very important to people like me).

Fortunately, I'm not particularly fond of marijuana. Its nice, but not worth the trouble, and even if it were legal I don't think I'd use it often. A stiff drink wins any day of the week.

6/22/2012 1:31:45 AM

occamsrezr
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6/22/2012 8:18:00 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Next time I talk to you people, it will be from Africa.

Remember me fondly when I'm dead from AIDS/sleeping sickness/Kony-inflicted machete wounds.

6/23/2012 9:50:49 PM

BigMan157
no u
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6/23/2012 9:51:26 PM

bmel
l3md
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Remember: click it or ticket

wait, wat

6/23/2012 9:55:28 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Well, Africa is kinda shitty but not remarkably more so than I expected. I hear its hotter back home than it is here, but then you fuckers have air conditioning. I have encountered one building in this country that purports to have AC, but after stepping inside I'm pretty sure they were just fucking with me.

I hear the word "yovo" (whitey) one hundred thousand times a day, often in song form:

"Yovo, yovo, bon soir. Ca va bien? Merci!" The kids sing this until I'm out of sight, and yes, I realize it doesn't make any sense but that's what they fucking sing so live with it.

Earlier this week I may have accidentally agreed to date a 12 year old. Fortunately nothing has come of that yet. Though the most popular song in the country is called, as best anyone can translate from Fon, "Jailbait jailbait."

We work like dogs. Language class starts at 8 and ends at 5, except not really because then we have to go home to our host families and continue working on the language because they sure as shit don't speak English and we're strongly discouraged from socializing with other trainees. Then at 4:45 the friendly neighborhood mosque blasts the first call to prayer on loudspeakers that AC-DC would consider ostentatious. And in the meantime, the Beninoise apparently do not sleep and continue making noise until about 2 AM before napping for about two hours. They also do not appear to need fluids to live. I've been in this country since the 27 June and have yet to see a Beninoise drink water, juice, soda, or anything except beer, and even that only happened once when my host dad invited me out for an awkwardly quiet drink.

So far I'm not sick. At all. Most of the other 67 trainees have had a serious problem. Honestly it makes me nervous. It's like when a team has a long winning streak and says they're "relieved" when they finally lose. Now I understand what they mean -- honestly I'd just like to get it over with.

Oh, and to anwer the common questions, I don't have running water so I shit in a hole in the ground and shower out of a bucket of well water. My host family does have electricity and some sort of bootlegged satellite TV, though. And my dad's dad was king but my dad isn't, yet, because apparently they have elections for king but haven't gotten around to it yet. Although "king" here should not be understood to be too impressive, because there's like six kings in this one city about the size of Greensboro.

7/14/2012 6:20:52 AM

PaulISdead
All American
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only 2 more years left

7/14/2012 7:24:18 AM

dbhawley
All American
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i admire what your doing...but I do no envy you

I've done two years in a developing country.

7/14/2012 7:29:06 AM

Nighthawk
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Since you are posting now you obviously found internet access. Do they have home access, internet cafes, etc?

7/14/2012 7:29:32 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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They have internet cafes, though not in the village that will be my home for two years. You can, however, by an "internet key" that plugs in to the laptop and lets you use the cell network to get a connection. It's not cheap, but it's better than hopping in a bush taxi to the capitol just to use the internet every so often.

Not that that would be terrible -- my village is only about an hour north of Porto Novo. (It should be about fifteen minutes, but the African bush taxi experience is...interesting)

I had kind of hoped for more questions, but I guess fuck you guys.

8/23/2012 5:13:07 AM

jbrick83
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Don't be so GrumpyGOP.

8/23/2012 6:45:20 AM

BigMan157
no u
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grumpy, are you alive?

3/6/2013 7:28:04 PM

shanedidona
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Quote :
"but the African bush taxi experience is...interesting"


How so?

3/6/2013 9:14:33 PM

DeltaBeta
All American
9417 Posts
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He's still alive, selling Beninoise deworming agent.

3/6/2013 9:20:06 PM

moron
All American
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http://voodoobatman.com/

3/6/2013 9:22:47 PM

Kiwi
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Do you still think Africa is shitty?

3/6/2013 9:40:44 PM

Ragged
All American
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Tell me what aids feels like

3/6/2013 10:25:08 PM

aaronburro
Sup, B
52757 Posts
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alright. here's a pillow for you to bite on

3/6/2013 10:26:48 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Quote :
"Do you still think Africa is shitty?"


I mean, I wasn't expecting it to be fucking Monaco or anything.

You have good days -- meet people, see crazy new things, drink a beer under a thatch roof watching an African sunset, actually get someone to show up to an event you work on, etc. And you get bad days, when you pee out of your butthole or have extreme fevers or have your work project collapse or have your neighbor break into your house and stare at you naked because he's a crazy person and Benin doesn't have insane asylums.

3/11/2013 12:21:44 PM

Roflpack
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That's cool.

3/11/2013 12:22:12 PM

Krallum
56A0D3
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Do you still think we should 'go back' there?

I'm Krallum and I approved this message.

3/11/2013 12:22:45 PM

GrumpyGOP
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The food, though, is always, always shitty.

Always.

3/11/2013 12:26:46 PM

gunzz
IS NÚMERO UNO
68205 Posts
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got any local soft leg yet?

3/11/2013 12:56:12 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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I have no idea what "soft leg" means. You trying to ask if I'm fucking any locals? No, I am not. That shit doesn't come no strings attached, and I'm not trying to complicate my life in a village where everyone knows my every move. Even the bartender-prostitutes (they run about two dollars, I hear) would be out of the question for that reason, to say nothing of disease. (I don't mean disease because they're African -- Benin has pretty reasonable rates for AIDS and the like -- but because they are two dollar prostitutes)

I'm posting now because I'm in the workstation in Cotonou, which is also the main PC office. I have to submit a report on my first three months of actual work (first 2.5 months were training, next three months were an "integration period"). This is unfortunate because I haven't done much actual work. Partly my fault -- I could be trying harder to find work -- but partly my host organization's fault. They requested me to do stuff. So far the main thing they've had me do is come with them to parties so they can show off their pet white person.

Good news, now I've been here long enough to apply for grants, and my coworkers know this -- the dollar signs are moving in their eyes. Funded projects look impressive, but after the actual grant writing involve very little work on my part. So I have a lot of free time. I read, a LOT. I was well over 100 books in 8 months, then my goddamn kindle broke. Shattered. Bicycle accident -- i came out fine, but my backpack hit a pole. So I'm pretty much going insane, and the other reason I came to the workstation here was to raid the library for long, dense books that will eat up time.

Bicycle accidents are a fact of life. The good road (notice the lack of a plural there) has insane traffic. All the other roads would vex a BMX champion. The real luck is that I haven't been in a motorcycle accident yet. We can't drive them, but Benin is one of a very few countries where PCVs are allowed to ride them. If we weren't, travel would be impossible. The motorcycle is the salient physical feature of Benin.

Bush taxis are an experience because they revolve around fitting fifteen people and various farm animals (I've even seen a cow in the back of a hatchback) into a vehicle designed to hold six or seven. This vehicle will never have seatbelts or anything resembling a suspension system, and often the brakes are...exciting. The one thing that must always work is the horn. The horn is the single most important in third-world car, and is used when accelerating, braking, turning, and at all other times.

People ask if I speak fluent French. Fuck no. I speak pretty good West African French, though. These are not the same thing, which is fine by me. A few months in Benin has taking my mild dislike for the French and turned it into a seething, bitter resentment.

3/11/2013 4:30:01 PM

settledown
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you looking for a way out yet?

3/11/2013 4:35:20 PM

Krallum
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I'm Krallum and I approved this message.

3/11/2013 4:36:57 PM

pilgrimshoes
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you sound so happy

3/11/2013 4:37:39 PM

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