'A Few Minor Adjustments'

A Handbook for Volunteers that we receive during the application process discussing the challenges we encoutner during surface. I was having a rough day and decided to peruse it. I found a variety of quotes entertaining, and acknowledge that they are blatantly copied and property of the Peace Corps:

'Many Volunteers find their living conditions plusher than they imagined, that they aren't going to be coping with the dreaded hardships they had anticipated and steeled themselves against, like having to read by candlelight and bathe in the river.'

...no comment.

'This isn't to say that the sacrifices aren't part of the PC package. It's just that sometimes they aren't as obvious, dramatic, or romantic as warding off bat-sized insects and enduring weeks of plain rice.'

...well, at least I can say that my life has never lacked drama. And the bugs are not quite that big.

'Cultural acceptance- it does not mean likeing or approving, and especially not adopting, but rather accepting the inevitability and logic of a particular behavior, of trusting that, as irritating as it might be, that the behavior is nevertheless appropriate in the other culture. You accept the behavior because you understand that it makes sense it in the local culture, however rude, offensive, or strange the behavior would be in yours.'

'3 Steps to Cultural Understanding and Acceptance:
-You become aware of your own cultural assumptions and values
-You accept the reality of your own cultural conditioning
-You accept the reality of the cultural conditioning of others'

'From the beginning, what has been unique about Peace Corps is not what it offers host countries, that is, technical expertise, but the way that expertise is delivered- in the form of Volunteers who speak the local language, understand the local culture, and live in local towns and neighborhoods. The manner of service is as important as the service itself and adjustment for Volunteers is not merely a means to an end, but a virtual end all its own. The cross-cultural adjustment of Volunteers is not just waht enables them to make a contribution; it is itself a significant part of that contribution.'

...to all of the above: easier said than done. It's a process.

Comments

  1. '3 Steps to Cultural Understanding and Acceptance:
    -You become aware of your own cultural assumptions and values
    -You accept the reality of your own cultural conditioning
    -You accept the reality of the cultural conditioning of others'

    I wish they had something like this for the military and their families when they are stationed in other countries.

    -Julie

    ReplyDelete

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