A. The professional attributes I plan to use and the aspirations I hope to fill during my Peace Corps Service in Botswana
As an elder, my core values and beliefs are well-established. I aspire to nourish and enrich them while assimilating into the culture of Botswana and becoming a valued member of the community. I seek to professionally and personally support Botswana through my job as a Community Capacity Builder and as a neighbor in my new community. Integrity and compassion are essential attributes in my life for developing relationships. Establishing trusting, respectful relationships during PST, living with my host family, with my co-workers, Batswana and fellow PC volunteers, in the HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Project, will facilitate my success as a volunteer. I aspire to be a “loving heart, thoughtful mind and tender hands” that contribute to the success of the project in any manner found to be beneficial.
B. Strategies to work effectively with my Batswana partners:
Strategies for working effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs include immersion into the culture and learning Setswana. I thrive on change and am flexible to do both. As a nurse for over 38 years, observation and listening were essential skills. I will use them to place myself in the “now” of the community. This will form a base upon which to build healthy relationships with the host country partners. Exposure to many different work and social environments, individuals and conditions sharpened my observation, listening, plan development and evaluation of processes skills. As a self-motivated individual, I hope to cherish, nourish and praise all people that I encounter in Botswana while meeting expressed needs.
C. Strategies to adapt to my new Botswana culture
My most important strategy for adapting to a new culture is my husband. Volunteering as a couple provides us with a partner that supports and confronts, encourages and chastises, celebrates and struggles with you. Relying on my spiritual strength, through prayer and contemplation is beneficial. Researching as much as possible prior to our departure will increase my knowledge base. Sharing a great sense of adventure with my husband is important to both of us. Knowing that we have a huge network of family and friends that will be praying for us and cheering us on will be of immense help. Enjoying time alone, reading and gardening will recharge my batteries as necessary. Having a “can do” attitude for my entire life will carry me forward in this adventure of a lifetime!
D. The skills and knowledge I hope to gain during Pre-Service Training
Skills and knowledge I hope to gain begin with assimilating into the culture of Botswana and learning Setswana. Obtaining an in-depth knowledge of HIV/AIDS is essential. Understanding my role in the project is key. I desire to become articulate in the project goals and masterful in community capacity building. As stated in my initial interview, I am ready and willing to serve in whatever capacity that supports the project.
E. How my Peace Corps Service will affect my personal and professional aspirations after my service
My professional aspirations were laid to rest upon retirement. Assuredly, the PC service will influence my volunteer choices after service ends. Our family, friends and neighbors are already looking forward to our return with stories that we will share with them about the wonderful Batswana that befriended us, the culture, the sights, the project, our fellow volunteers and the PC experience.