So my staging went pretty well considering a little bed bug problem and having to evacuate my first room and an arm, thigh, left arm, right wrist, full of bed bug bites.
I am loving my new Peace Corps family and its amazing how any different backgrounds and we’re from all over the U.S.A. East to West. It will be fun to see whats in store for the future.
So what was staging (a.k.a orientation)
Staging essentially set the tone for what we would encounter in the Gambia culturally, individually, and as PC members.
It was there to remind us that where we’re going we are the foreigners.. and that’s ok. PC 3 goals are
To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
It was clear that most of us are were so wrapped up in the first goal that we forgot that we are there primarily as cultural ambassadors. We were reminded that we can’t go in with a “Savior Complex” because we are there to help people help themselves and be their own resources and heroes.
We also got a crash course in Gambian cultural norms that will most definitely be expounded on when we begin our three months of pre-service training.
We learned about how gender roles are pretty rigid in Gambian culture in general but definitely more lax in the city. Where we are going, Up Country, gender roles are practiced almost without deviation and it was emphasized that, despite the fact that we are foreigners and there will be leeway, we will have to learn to navigate our host culture’s gender roles so that we can both assimilate and maintain our personal integrity
Other than the heavy stuff we played a bunch of ice breakers and fun games. I got to be a chicken.
Here’s my itinerary for our day’s journey to the Gambia on 10/14
9 am check out
9:30 board bus for JFK Airport in NYC
5:55 pm board Air Brussels flight
7:20 arrive in Brussels
11:20 Air Brussels flight 203
5:25 pm 10/14 Arrive in Banjul, The Gambia