Friday, February 18, 2011

Countdown - 34, 33, 32!

In 32 days, March 22nd we will leave Chapel Hill to fly to Dallas. In 33 days we'll have our Peace Corps staging (pre-departure orientation) meeting, about a half-day of meeting the other volunteers headed for Belize and preparation for our project. In just 34 days, we fly out at the crack of dawn to Belize!
We have received several letters and emails from Belize PC management, just chock full of information. Here's what we know:

  • Our training class consists of 17 Business and Organizational Strengthening (“BusOrg”) trainees, 11 Healthy Environments trainees (that's us), and 10 Education trainees. 
  • We'll spend one week in Belmopan, the capital, meeting with Programming and Training Staff and with the Medical, Safety, and Administrative Staff as well.
  • Ha! We'll be learning either Kriol or Spanish - so maybe I should have stuck with the Spanish study ...
  • After one week, we head with our Healthy Environments counterparts to the Community-Based Training (CBT), and we won't know where that is till the day before or so. The furthest distance we'll be from Belmopan is 1.5 hours (by bus), so worst case scenario, we'll have to travel that far to get to the Internet. I'm thinking it's likely we'll have local access.
  • We'll move in with our host families (don't know if Steve and I will be with the same family - probably not). We can take only one suitcase and a backpack. Other luggage will stay at the PC office in Belmopan.  OK - FIRST hardship.  
  • CBT lasts two months and we will learn language, culture, project content (they call it project technical training) and interact like crazy with the local people, especially our host families. Once a week we head back for one day in Belmopan for safety and health, volunteer policy, stuff that affects all of us.
  • After CBT, assuming we "pass," we'll be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers and receive our assignments.
  • We move to the location of the assignment and move in with a NEW host family (now here I really gotta hope that Steve and I get to share!) with whom we will stay for 2 more months.
That's what we know so far from their letters, as far as the sequence of things goes. I believe that they keep a lot of information back, especially location-type info, for safety reasons.  

Actually the letters have given us very detailed information on many topics, but I'm just listing these few things.  I'm trying to think of what questions I've had while going through this process.  I figure it might help someone else who's interested.

We have also received information for mail, telephone, and other communication opportunities which I will share with family and friends through email.  

Suffice it to say, we are shifting gears and ramping up for the big exodus. Steve is really busy making those lists and carrying out the to-dos on the lists. Once in awhile he hands me something to do, but he's been great about thinking through all the what-ifs and scenarios so we don't forget something - well, so we don't forget too much.  



Lew said...

Best wishes. (Go Tar Heels!)

Steve and Cathy Burnham said...

Thank you for the well wishes, Lew. The waiting is really awful, isn't it? Then once you're on go, the time flies. So hang in there!