I'm glad that you are all finding this Yahoo group useful. I've been
monitoring the discussion the past couple of weeks and thought I'd
jump in with a few general thoughts.
First and foremost: You're going to be fine when you get to
Turkmenistan. The Peace Corps program there is well established and
has tons of experience dealing with Volunteers from all walks of
life. They'll make sure that you know what adjustments you need to
make, what you need to do to stay healthy and safe, and what steps
you'll need to take to make your work a success.
Second: While we will continue answering as many questions as we can,
no matter how well you prepare in the States, the most important work
in adapting to your new home in Turkmenistan will happen over there.
When you are immersed in the culture, this wil happen much more
quickly than you ever thought possible.
Third: There were people in my group who brought way too much luggage
into Turkmenistan. While they were inconvienced at first, they
eventually got settled and did fine. There were people in my group
who brought entirely the wrong baggage, having not read the packing
list. While they were inconvenienced at first, they eventually got
settled and did fine. There were people in my group (myself
included) who underpacked. While we inconvenienced at first, we
eventually got settled and did fine.
There is no magic packing list which will make or break your
service. If you find yourself desperately lacking something after
you get to Turkmenistan, remember that you can always get it sent in
a package, that PCVs often travel to the States and may be able to
carry things back, and that cheap travel is possible on vacation to
other countries which might have what you need.
The RPCV answers to your questions are based on the unique culture of
our host site, the work we were assigned, and even the preconceptions
and cultural baggage we brought into Turkmenistan. Please use our
information as a way of getting the general flavor of Turkmen life
and to get excited for your adventure. But, in 28 short months, you
will find that your own experience was unique; even compared to other
PCVs serving with you a few kilometers down the road.
Good luck! Keep asking questions and we'll keep answering as best we
can. But, please don't get too mad at us if it turns out some
answers are out of date or slightly skewed by faulty memory. Some
day, you too will be able to wax nostalgic about your adopted home,
deep in a part of the world few Americans can find on a map.
Charles Gussow, T-11
President, Friends of Turkmenistan
TEFL RPCV, Balkanabat