Friday, June 7, 2013

FAQs

I sent out an email containing some FAQs and basic information, but I'm sure I missed some people. Here it is again, slightly edited.

Q: What the best way to contact you?
A: Snail mail is best. It's the most fun to recieve and reasonably reliable. It's good to number your letters, so that way I know if one has gone missing. Post cards are good if they are in an envelope, otherwise they might become decoration on the Post Office wall ;) I'd love photos in the letters as well. Once I get a cell phone number there, I'll update you all.
Q: What is your address?
A: Anna Williams, PCV
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 3194
Lomé, Togo
West Africa
Q: Will you send a letter back?
A: Of COURSE! If you mail me a letter, I will always write you one back. It may take a bit of time to arrive, but I will be a great pen pal (to those who were France penpals, I promise to do better)

Q: Should I email you my snail mail address? 
A: Only if you want me to write you letters! (and you'll write them back ;)
Q: How much does it cost to mail a letter to Togo?
A: About a dollar. You can buy international  "forever" stamps at the post office, and that way you don't have to worry about the postage price changing.
Q: What if I want to send you a package?
A: You can use the address above. Getting packages can be a little difficult, but padded or tyvek envelopes are recommended by current volunteers. There are fewer taxes to be paid on them, and tend to have a better track record in arriving in the intended hands.
Q: Will you have internet?
A: Yes and no. During training I should have some access to internet through cyber cafes, but it is not guaranteed or very good (think dial up speeds). I might be able to get email access on my phone, depending on what is available there. Email communication will be possible, but not often. So get that pen out and send me some snail mail.
Q: What about skype?
A: Because of poor connectivity skype isn't really an option, at least until training has finished. That being said, once I have a cell phone skype out credit is a great way to make lower cost international phone calls.
General Peace Corps FAQs
Q: What are you doing exactly?
A: I'll be teaching English and runing girls' empowerment clubs.
Q: Why do they want to learn English?
A: From west to east we have; Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Togo and Benin are Francophone and Ghana and Nigeria are Anglophone. There are lots of people who come from Ghana and more who do trade from Ghana to Nigeria, so there are a lot more jobs available to those who speak English. In today's market, English is necessary to be competitive in any job- even at the local market!

Q: How long are you gone for?
A: A little longer than two years. I leave June 10th, 2013 and if everything goes correctly, I go from trainee to volunteer in August in 2013 and finish my service in August 2015.
Q: Soooooo, what is Togo like?
A: I'm not really sure- I don't know much more than the wikipedia article! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Togo
Q: What language do they speak?
A: They speak French there, which helps to unify the country as there are about 12 main different languages there. I'll learn a local language during training.

Q: Do you get paid?
A: Peace Corps is a volunteer organization. I am a volunteer though I receive a monthly living stipend to live at the same level as the locals, complete medical care and some readjustment money upon my return to the USA. 
Q: How can I contribute to what you are doing? 
A: Hold off on monetary donations for now, later there may be an opportunity to contribute once I have discovered what my community needs. 

Q: Are you excited?!!? Nervous? Scared? Happy?
A: Yes!
Q: Are you insane?!
A: YES!

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