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amanda [userpic]
by amanda (aemanduh)
at March 2nd, 2010 (10:54 pm)

Hi my name is Amanda and I just was nominated for HIV/AIDS education in Africa.

I submitted my application on January 22nd, had an interview the next week and now I am working on my health packet.

I graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Anthropology and French, wherein lies my interest in going to Africa. I currently volunteer with an HIV/AIDS organization and am attempting to get more involved with education and community outreach.

I couldn't be more excited about my nomination, however my family and friends (who initially knew very little about the PC and have not known a previous volunteer) are SERIOUSLY concerned about my health and safety. I told them that you have to have common sense when it comes to traveling to a developing country but I also know that PC provides you with safety and cultural training to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

I guess what I am asking is should I be legitimately terrified about doing PC because I am a young Caucasian woman? I am fairly small (5'7", 120lbs) and am not sure if I would be capable of really defending myself in a dangerous situation. My family's concerns coupled with the stories I have read about attempted rapes/assaults and even the murder of Kate Puzey (http://www.coopercrier.com/local/local_story_078082546.html) have all started to intimidate me and have me really question my readiness and willingness to put myself in danger...

I was wondering
-Is it a legitimate concern to be afraid of something seriously dangerous happening, especially if assigned to a country in Africa?
-Do any RPCV have any stories about near assault/dangerous situations that came about during your 2 years of service?
-How safe do you feel as a PCV in your community, especially as a woman?
-Any advice???

Thank you!


Posted by: FireSika (firesika)
Posted at: March 7th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)

I don't get, if you're looking for a real understanding of how safe it is, you're only asking about dangers.

That said, there were some violent crime in Malawi, where I was, but only one of them was gender specific.

Also, more people were hurt in car accidents than any other kind of event.

Africa is risky, sure. But most people back home are way more scared of it than they should be, which is why, if you go, you will be hearing about how "brave" you are and the like until your ears bleed. And you probably won't get why anybody thinks that.

That said, some people get really worried about all the bad things that are going to happen to them. And in PC you have a lot of alone time to think about it all. I think out of the PCVs I knew who were really scared going in, about half got over it and half early terminated.

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