Expectations and Fears

So what is an NGO Advisor with the Peace Corps? First off, an NGO is a non-governmental organization. Volunteers focus on increasing NGO capacity and sustainability; creating strategic and funding plans; raising public awareness; and conducting community outreach. They are also involved with recruiting; supporting trainings; motivating volunteers; developing mission statements and other agency documents; working with boards; mentoring and building the skills of staff; and increasing the quality and effectiveness of the NGO service. 

I won’t know what organization I’ll be working with until I get in country. I also don’t know where within the Kyrgyz Republic I’ll be living just yet. Heck at this point I don’t even know what language I’ll have to learn. 

Over the past week I read through several blogs of previous volunteers serving in Kyrgyzstan. This helped ease some of my concerns and also freaked me out a bit. I knew when I signed up that I could end up in a very remote area; that access to electricity and running water was most likely not an option; and Internet access would be very limited. Here are some things I’m looking forward to and some I’m a little nervous about:

  • Beauty – the pictures I have seen show a country that is stunningly beautiful with mountains that are simply incredible. Many PCVs spend down time hiking which I’m totally looking forward to (though I need to get my butt in gear and get in shape!)
  • Personal hygiene – with no access to a shower, personal hygiene is not a priority and that concerns me just a bit. I don’t want to smell bad or have an itchy head
  • Culture – being immersed in a new culture for 27 months is very exciting to me
  • Food – being a vegetarian in a mostly meat based society makes me nervous. I know how to handle it in the US but I don’t want to offend my host by refusing to eat. And vegetables are almost non-existent in the winter. 
  • Pace – the pace of life there (and in most other countries) is much slower and this is very appealing to me after a long Type A career (and life!)
  • Language – quite frankly the language scares me. And typically 5-6 people are chosen to learn Russian so I don’t even know if I should start trying to learn Kyrgyz or not or just wait
  • Chai tea – according to the blogs I read a lot of chai tea is drunk in the country which is awesome cause it’s my favorite tea
  • Winter – it will be cold and I don’t do cold. I tend to hibernate in the winter. I just keep telling myself ‘layers’
  • Internet – there will be limited internet access and I see this as both a positive and negative
  • Packing – I’m the queen of packing lite for trips and have it down to a science, but packing for two years in two bags with a maximum weight of 50lbs each? And that includes hiking boots, winter clothes and anything else I need to survive over 2 years? I’m already stressing 

All in all I know the positives will outweigh the negatives in the end. My fears are normal for anyone who is leaving everything behind and moving to a foreign country. And none of these ‘fears’ or concerns are going to keep me from living my dream. 

About alicrain

Wanderlust. Adventurer. Mom. Mentor. Change Agent. Crazy. Servant Leader. Citizen of the World These are all words that describe me - or have been used to describe me. There are many more but we won't get in to those. What is important to know is that at the age of 45, after having a successful career and raising a son, I decided I needed a new challenge and adventure in my life. So I joined the Peace Corps. Portions of this blog were written before this time and chronicle my life during graduate school (again, something I did in my 40s). During my service in Morocco (September 2016 - December 2018) I chronicled my daily life and all it entailed to live as an American female in another country. this is a place for me to capture random thoughts and share my life's journey
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