Friday, December 23, 2011

Invited to Benin!

About two weeks ago, I officially received my invitation to serve in Benin, West Africa with the Peace Corps.  It was a long application process; I first submitted my application in February.  But it looks like the invitation to Benin will be well worth the wait.  I will be part of their Environmental Action program.  My job title will be Community Natural Resource Advisor, and it could include working with environmental education programs in schools, helping to promote sustainable agriculture techniques, working with agroforestry...or something else!  I won't know exactly what I'm doing until part way through our in-country training.  Once the staff has had the chance to get to know each of the volunteers, they will pair us with an NGO or governmental agency in a community in Benin that has requested a volunteer.  My work will have a lot to do with what my NGO or government agency is focused on.

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to what my experience will be like - but I'm very grateful for this invitation.  If I could have designed my own Peace Corps invitation, it would have been this - working in French-speaking Africa, doing environment or agriculture work.  Benin sounds like a great country.  (Not that there are any countries that aren't great).  It has a lot of diversity; the south near the coast is humid and tropical, and as you get further north there are beautiful hills.  The north also has savannah-like ecosystems, with animals like elephants, lions, and antelope.  There is a lot of religious diversity as well; the south is Christian and Voudou, and the north is predominantly Muslim.  According to the information Peace Corps sent me, Benin is recognized as one of the more peaceful/stable democracies in the region, with multiple parties and a relatively strong civil society.

I've got a lot of time before I leave, and look forward to learning as much as I can about Benin.  I'll share some of what I learn and how I prepare here!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Posts on this Blog

The posts below this are from a trip I took to Africa for my work as International Christian Science Group Coordinator at The First Church of Christ, Scientist.  Posts after this will relate to my preparation for and service in the Peace Corps.