Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let Down

I have been avoiding this simply because PC has been giving me the run around. So here I am, not exactly at square one, but feeling upset, angry, and frustrated, and stuck at square three.

So, its a no go on the original program I was nominated for. My PC recruiter called me and said it got cancelled. He informed me that there had been some political instability and kidnappings reported in Niger, where he figured the program was intended for. PC evidentially pulled out all of their volunteers from that country. I was a little disheartened to say the least, but was glad that myself and other volunteers were safe.

A few days later I receive another email. This program was a TEFL in Sub-Sahara Africa. For those of you who have no idea what that is, its an acronym for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language". I was ecstatic to say the least. It required me to continue studying my French, gain 4 months of experience as a teacher, and a few other things. I immediately began researching teaching opportunities and such. Until, I received ANOTHER phone call.

I had gotten booted from the program. Too many already certified teachers had applied to the program, so I got automatically kicked out. Awesome. Sweet. Nice.

Along with the Sub-Sahara program, my recruiter nominated me for another TEFL program in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Which, I just found out, I got booted from again. Too many competitive volunteers to even be nominated. So, basically, here I am. No nomination, no idea what the hell I'm doing, and just stuck in limbo.

But I quote my recruiter, "Kaitlin, you are not totally screwed, I promise you". Just so all my friends and family who are out of the PC loop, the PC has been under scrutiny over the last few weeks for safety and security issues. My recruiter said that with budget cuts, increase in volunteers, and the need for reevaluating certain safety training and issues, this is a rough time for PC nominees. But, I guess I cant be TOO upset. The PC is getting tons of kick ass volunteers and making it even more safe than it was before. So, really, the only negative thing is the budget and program cuts. I just need to be patient, which I have never really been good at.

So, for now, I am volunteering at the Southwest HIV/AIDS center and searching for TEFL programs in the Valley. He assured me that in March, the next quarter, more programs will open up and I will be his first priority. He also said that volunteers will drop out, not pass the medical stuff, and other things where spots will open in the programs I have already been nominated for. Also, with a month or two of teaching/voulnteering under my belt, I will be even more competitive then I already am.

Anndddd my good friend Larry is heading out to Zambia on Monday for his community development program! I love you Larry and the best of luck!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


After hearing from numerous people who have already begun the PC process, waiting is key. Yes, waiting for everything. I'm not gonna lie, I was not expecting to wait for my actual nomination. And after waiting for 3 weeks, I was a little nervous. I understand it was the holidays, but my god I have been on the edge of my seat staring at my cell phone like a crazy person. The recruiter and I had been playing phone and email tag for the last week and I was a giant ball of stress that everyone wanted to stand 10 feet away from.

So finally, last night I received my nomination email. I almost passed out (thank goodness I was already sitting down) It read as follows,

Hello Kaitlin

I hope all is well. I was looking into community development programs for you. Both programs that you are eligible for are in Sub-Saharan Africa (not country specific) and have requirements.

Program one requires you to be ready to leave from October to November 2011 and states that you need to gain experience in HIV/AIDS Ed/nutrition/malaria prevention. This means working at some organization form 3 months/ 10 hours per month (at least) to be competitive for the program

Program two requires you to be ready to leave in October 2011 and gain experience in agro-forestry, fruit tree production, farming, tree nursery. This means working at some organization form 3 months/ 10 hours per month at least to be competitive for the program.

Both program require you to stay studying French up until your departure. Please let me know what you think you can commit to and I'll place you into the program. Realize that spots go quickly, so get back to me as soon as you can.

I decided to go with program 1, HIV/AIDS education and nutrition was exactly what I wanted to do with the PC. Immediately, I began researching AIDS organizations and clinics in Phoenix and found a few. I hope to secure a volunteering position with them and just go from there! I have 9 months before the its scheduled to ship off, and I cannot wait to get this ball rolling! So if anyway has insite on organizations in Phoenix, connections, advice, or if you want to rant feel free!

Have a good day!


Saturday, December 11, 2010


Soooo.....I finally had my interview Thursday!!

I must admit, I was very nervous. As with any interview, you dread having a question that you cannot develop a response. Luckily for me, Peace Corps Wiki saved my life. Honestly, every question he asked me was posted on that website!

The interview was at ASU, which was very convenient because its about 10 minutes away from my apartment. I left half an hour early and got there 15 minutes before the interview. I walked into the Study Abroad Office to hear that Mr. Toure (my recruiter) was running a tad bit late. My nerves, of course, kicked in about there. I was pacing the room and probably looked like a freak in my suit. I decided to grab a study abroad in France brochure to practice my french. Turns out, I dont know shit despite having 2 years behind me. Then he walked in, shook my hand, and took my to a small room.

The room was tiny with a large map of world on the wall. I filled out some paper work, he gave me some forms, and the interview questions began. He asked what my inspiration was for joining. I told him about my experience about my experience in South Africa and desire to make a permanent impact. He asked questions about leadership, fears, ambitions, frustrations, and working in unstructured situations. The interview part itself lasted about 20 minutes. Afterwards he did my fingerprints as we joked around with one another.

He is a very interesting guy. He told me some stories from Tonga where he had been a PCV. He told me his biggest challenges, biggest fears, and biggest successes. He informed me that the hardest part for him was the concept of time. Time on Tonga was slow and unrushed, in stark contrast to the concept of time here in the U.S.. He would think on his worst days, 'Im on a kickass island, how bad can today be?'

At the end I asked him if he could see me as a PCV. He replied that he needs to look over my application, my interview transcript, and references. So now, I play the Peace Corps game, waiting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Have you ever been attacked by a zombie?

Hello All! Greetings from me, a zombie. I have been sitting in my room for entirely too long trying to construct this massive research proposal for one of my classes. I never understood the concept of finals. Why is it we work so hard reading, writing, and learning all semester and just when were ALMOST done our professors throw finals on us. Anyways, my proposal is pretty cool.
I'm focusing the 'research' on Khayelitsha, the township I lived in while in South Africa. It's been a good experience looking back through my pictures and remembering the social and physical construction of that kick ass place. I knew living in poverty would impact me up to a few months after I got home, but I didn't know it would forever change my life. I left naive, little Kaitlin at the airport in Phoenix back in 2009, never to be seen again.
So, knowing I have this interview in two weeks, I have been conducting small interviews with myself in the shower. I know, I know, it sounds absolutely nuts. But I enjoy talking to myself anyways, I figure I might as well put my oddness to use. So, while exploring my memories of Khayelitsha and trying to interview myself, I discovered the inspiration for the reason I want to join Peace Corps.
As I stated earlier, Khayelitsha changed my life. It changed the way I view people, it taught me to be grateful for air conditioning, heat, even running water. Now, I was lucky in Khayelitsha to have access to water. But at my educare, Imizamo Yethu, running water was completely absent. In order to get water you would have to walk down the street to a well. Bathrooms were all public. Wow sorry I am totally ranting.
Anyways, Khayelitsha made an impact on me, but I had no impact on it. Yeah, I helped care for kids, developed relationships, danced, laughed, ate, and was considered a family member which are all impermanent. But I feel like when I left Khayelitsha, ultimately, it was same as when I entered. With the Peace Corps, I will be able to make an impact, a permanent impact. So I know when I leave, the place where I was will be forever changed. What an opportunity huh?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ahh... and so it begins!

Let me first say, I have never, EVER, been more excited and nervous for anything in my life.

It all began a few weeks back. I was in the library at ASU meeting with my friend Larry for a cup of coffee. Larry and I had traveled to South Africa in the Summer of '09 for a study abroad program. Since then, we have stayed good friends. Larry informed me about his peace corps application. I was so happy to hear he had decided to apply. A few other guys from the trip had also joined. One guy, Karl, recently left for Kenya to teach sign language. Anyways, as Larry was talking, it dawned me on me. MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I BEEN THINKING?! I WANT TO JOIN THE PEACE CORPS!

I immediately began my research and my application. I knew it would take more than this split second to decide on this life changing volunteer work. But with the support of friends and family, I knew it was right for me. I got my application done, and have an interview with my recruiter on the 9th! I'm so nervous for the interview, so any tips would be amazing! I'm so happy to be a part of this journey and I'm looking forward to sharing everything with you. Even if its not always pleasant.

Just a little background on me. I'm 22 years old and graduating from Arizona State in the Spring (May 2011). Im majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Religious Studies. I hope to go to Sub-Sahara Africa but am open to all regions and programs that the Peace Corps feels I'm right for. I went to South Africa a few summers ago which really sparked my interest in volunteer work abroad. After the PC, I hope to work with either a Non-Profit or a Human Rights NGO.

So any tips for a successful interview would be wonderful! Its my first serious, scary, professional interview. I hope I don't die.