Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reasons and Reactions

Over the past few days at work, time has come to a standstill for me.  So, primarily to entertain myself but also to answer questions, I am giving a few reasons as to why we are joining the Peace Corps. And I am also relaying some of our 'peoples' reactions to our upcoming departure.

A few reasons why we decided to join the Peace Corps:

  • Unique Experience - We wanted to do something a little different in our lives before we  settle down.  The Peace Corps gives us an experience like no other. We looked into other options such as volunteering internationally with non-profits, but from a cost-effective, safe, and career aspect, the Peace Corps offers an experience that is above and beyond any other organization we found.

  • Mission - no, we don't expect to change the world or even our community, but taking time out of our lives to aid a community less fortunate than our own will benefit everyone in some way - right?

  • Adventure - As PCV's we will have ample opportunities for adventure - not sure this one needs any explanation!

  • Perspective - Living in a small rural community in West Africa is sure to change our perspective on food, needs, business, community, international development,

  • Language - Relating to someone in a different language is supposed to be a wonderful experience. And, who doesn't want to be fluent in an obscure African dialect?

We also received quite a variety of reactions with our decision to move to The Gambia. Here is a good sample of them:

  • Zambia? No, Gambia. Oh, okay, is that still in Africa?  

  • Oh Gambia...wait, what's A Gambia?

  • You know those people only listen to one thing right? Guns.

  • OK, a guy at our table has been to the Gambia. We have confirmation that it exists!

  • I thought you believed in capitalism not digging ditches in Africa.

  • The Gambia? Oh that's fabulous; they'll have a great time!

  • NO, you're moving?! To AFRICA?! Oh my lord, ya'll are crazy.

  • Thank you for your service to our country; it is a very noble cause.

(And the reaction that caused the blog title....)

  • Wait..Africa?! I thought you were joking!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Excited and Ready....

Well, we have about 5 weeks until we depart for The Gambia. These past few weeks we've gotten a fair amount accomplished including finding a renter for our house and resigning from our current positions!  Both tasks went extremely well and we've shifted gears to start packing, both for the move out of Austin, and for our time in The Gambia.

Our future address will be:

Ben/Kate Turner, PCT (after March 2011, we will no longer be trainees, so it will be PCV)
C/O Peace Corps/The Gambia
P.O. Box 582
Banjul, The Gambia
West Africa

Feel free to write or send care packages! We will go through a 10 week training period in country where we will receive intense language and cultural training, and afterwards we will be sent out to a village to start implementing our own projects. This address will be our mailing address the entire time we are in the Gambia. And please feel free to visit us while we are in Gambia, it is a diverse country with a lot to offer including national parks and beautiful beaches!

Ben's last day at work is December 15, and my last day is December 10 so for the next month our time will be spent in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. 

Here's a little itinerary for our holiday schedule:

Austin: now until Dec 16 (and possibly back for the birth of baby Archer)
Dallas: Dec 19 – 25, back on Dec 31 until we leave Jan 4
Houston: Dec 17 – 19, Dec 25 – 31

And if you are reading this...We'd love to see you before we leave :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Invitation Received and Accepted

It finally came! We received our official invitation for The Gambia and are heading out for staging on January 4th!  If you click on the 'About The Gambia' tab to the left you can read about the small, west African country we will be living in for the next 27 months. 

I (Kate) will be a Forestry Volunteer and Ben will be an Agriculture and Forestry Extension Agent Volunteer. We will try our best to keep this blog updated so everyone can read about our adventures in Africa.  Keep in mind we will most likely be living in a rural village with no access to electricity so our updates may be inconsistent, but we will have cell phones.