Come With Us
Aren't You Normal?
You are a gay Volunteer serving in what you have heard is a somewhat homophobic country where unmarried young men regularly patronize prostitutes. For some time, your male colleagues at work have been pressuring you to "have fun" with them on their Friday night outings, but you have declined. Now one of them has asked you if you are "normal." What do you say or do?
You are a Volunteer of Hispanic background whose family is third-generation American. You do not speak Spanish and have a normal American accent. You teach English at a high school in your country. After you have been at your site one month, some of your students complain to the headmaster that they want a different teacher, someone who is a native speaker of English. What do you say or do?
You are a blind PCV. You are a self-sufficient individual and value your independence. You have adjusted well at your post, but you are concerned about all the "help" you are getting from host country friends and colleagues. It is apparent that many HCNs regard people with disabilities as being unable to function without considerable assistance from those around them. At work and out in public, you are being helped to do all manner of things you are quite capable of doing on your own. While you appreciate people's concern, you are frustrated by being the focus of so much attention and support. What can you do or say to change this dynamic?
You are an African American serving in a country where prejudice against Black people is traditional. At work, a teacher training college, you notice that the students you are assigned to teach do not seem to respect you. One day, as you are explaining a concept, one of the students raises her hand and asks a question, "Are Black people allowed to go to college in the United States?" What do you say?
You are an older Volunteer in excellent physical condition. You work as project manager on a school construction site. You are not especially impressed with the work of some of the subcontractors, especially the carpenters, and have on several occasions tried to show them how to do their work better. But every time you try to climb on the building or do any manual work, your assistant steps in and says it's not appropriate for you, an older man and the project manager, to do strenuous physical labor. He says you will lose the respect of the real manual laborers if you continue to do this work. Now what?
Your Own Story
You may have already had your own critical incident in country. Reflect on it here and note down any lesson you learned or advice you would give someone else who had the same experience.