Saturday, June 19, 2010
Basic Methodology and Assessment Criteria for Pre-Service Training (July 3 - September 1)
For the duration of the training, I will live with a Malawian family in a small village located near the college. This is one of the most vital aspects of the entire training program. The homestay is generally considered the most challenging, but also the most meaningful aspect of training by Malawi Volunteers.
The challenge lies in adapting to the rigors of Malawian village life. The living conditions are generally extremely basic despite being only a few kilometers from a main road. Some of the houses are cement block with tin roof and others are constructed of mud brick with grass thatched roofs. I will have a private room with either a bed or a mattress on the floor for sleeping. Toilet facilities consist of a pit latrine. Bathing is done in outdoor stalls under the stars - a magical experience! Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be taken with my host family.
The joy of the homestay is that I will be able to live as most Malawians live. Homestay will immerse me in Malawi food, culture, and language. The experience will expose me to the realities of the communities within which I will be serving. Many Volunteers become very close to their homestay family, and we are encouraged to do this. A family on this side of the world is a nice thing to have.
When I arrive in Malawi, Peace Corps Trainers will give me a list of competencies in language, culture, health, safety and security, and technical expertise. I will be expected to master these competencies in order to be sworn in as a Volunteer. I will be responsible for taking an active role in my learning process, evaluating my progress, and setting goals for my learning. Peace Corps Trainers will help me assess my progress and make recommendations at several points during Pre-Service Training.
In order to be sworn in, I will need to demonstrate competence in five areas. I must demonstrate:
1. A working knowledge of the local language
2. Knowledge of health risks common in Malawi and demonstrated practice of preventative health strategies
3. Interpersonal and cross-culture skills and knowledge that enable me to communicate, make friends, understand my environment, understand how Malawians perceive and interact with me, and work effectively with Malawians
4. The technical skills and knowledge essential to my work
5. An understanding of Peace Corps' philosophy of development and my project's long-term plan to see how I fit in and what I can contribute
The last week of Pre-Service Training will focus on local resources, a field trip, and office orientation. Upon successful mastery of the core competencies of training, I will be Sworn-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on Wednesday, September 1st. As a new Peace Corps Volunteer, I will be taken to my site on the following days (Thursday or Friday).