Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Welcome Letters: Life Issues
The following excerpts are from Volunteers who currently serve or recently served in Malawi.
"Think about the images that you have of Africa and where they come from. The media often gives us a very skewed and negative perspective of African life with its portrayal of wars, pestilence, disease, famine, or starvation. What we don't often see is what you will experience by living in Malawi. It is a peaceful and wonderful place to call home. The larger cities have the things that you would find in America... grocery stores, Internet services, restaurants, etc. Day-to-day living comes with its own unique circumstances, and like every country in the world, Malawi is working to address the problems it faces.
Your skills as a Peace Corps Volunteer can be a valuable contribution to the country's progress. If you are willing to avoid making opinions of life in Malalwi based on Western concepts such as material resources or money, and instead focus on the things that really matter in life, you will quickly realize that you are living in one of the richest countries in the world." - Kristof Nordin
"Your life will be very different here; face it. But that's part of the reason you're joining the Peace Corps. And you're going to go through some changes. But be yourself, read a lot of good books, write your daily thoughts frequently, take a walk, a bike ride, chat, or play cards, and don't forget why you're here or who you are." - Angie Sanders
"I am representing what people know/think about the United States, so my actions have to be carefully thought out." - Jake Farnum
"AIDS is huge. You'll see it everywhere. One of the teachers at my school died during my site visit after suffering for several months. Perhaps you should study up on HIV/AIDS before you come and be prepared to help educate your community." - Allison McGough
"As I prepared to enter the Peace Corps, I heard various stories about life in Africa for African Americans. Some positive, some negative. Well, I probably have a slightly different cut from any of the stories. I have uncovered a special sense of pride in being African American. It is now clear that though I am of African heritage, in the absence of tribal and/or country identity, that heritage doesn't mean much to anyone except me (and other Americans). But as I am more conscious that I am 100 percent American, it does not trouble me to not know the particulars about something I cannot know. Instead, perhaps it gives me a special flexibility." - Ella Lacey
"Malawi may be the 'Warm Heart of Africa' but it sure isn't for the 'Faint of Heart!'" - Patricia Wundrow