Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First day of staging

This morning, as I walked to get my Starbucks and Einsteins, I exchanged looks with all the other people who, along with myself, collectively made up the typical picture of a PC volunteer. We hadn't met yet, but it was obvious by the messenger bag slung over the shoulder, the adventurous shoes being wasted on the pavement, and the walk of a professional sprung free from the cublicle that we would all be seeing each other later at the hotel for staging. 

This morning they gave me the job of taking photos of everyone as they came in. This was not only a good way to meet everyone, but also gave me something to do. I felt like a border collie who just needed a job to do, lest I start gnawing the furniture simply as a way to release my stress. 

We learned all the first-day stuff. Safety and cultural stuff and PC facts. Did you know the Peace Corps annual budget is about the equivalent of a half-day in Iraq?

My staging leader volunteered in Paraguay and is loving and protective of her country. She helped build a library (a project I'd love to do).

We also saw a video on how to deal with unwanted attention. In the end, it showed a volunteer woman rounding the corner, holding a basket. Then behind her came a swarm of more than 100 African children, who were just there to see what she was up to. 

The wall is posted with inspirational quotes. My favorite today: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." Spoken by Ambrose Redmoon, who I will have to Google later. Oh yeah, I won't have the internet. 


Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you! You are in all our prayers :)

--Rachel (and Frank) Vitale

Janice said...

Hi Paulette,
How very well you can describe things. This is so exciting and scary. I will look forward to reading your blog. Love, Aunt Janice