Following protocol:

Obligatory DISCLAIMER: The contents of this Web Log are solely mine and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What a place to celebrate the PC's 50th Anniversary!

Sunday May 22, 2011:

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia:

The Philadelphia Peace Corps Association (PAPCA) held a public information display, informational panel presentations and meetings with recruiters

It was an inspirational setting, with many other historical things to see. such a a life-size display of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; we could actually walk among our activists of yore:

The Hall of Flags is certainly a great environment within which to hold this event:

The dispalys of the various countries was spread out adjoining to the Hall of Flags:

It was inspirational for all and especially nice for this Invitee to get to speak with RPCVs among the displays representing their service. Some of the RPCVs came quite a distance to participate. I had a lengthy conversation with one who traveled from Washington, DC to share his experiences in Zambia.

On the 4th of July, Philadelphia will hold a lot of celebrations including a "Welcome America" parade and the Peace Corps has been invited to participate. pass right in front of Independence Hall:

RPCVs and Invitees, displaying countries of PC service will march holding flags representing countries of service and it looks as though I will be the lucky bearer of the Macedonian flag.

Then, a few weeks later I will join the other Invitees going to Staging right near this historical site as we meet and greet each other and prepare for departure for our service in Macedonia. Oh, yeah!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

e-mail alert - "Application Status Update"

The e-mail had been sent at 5AM alerting me that I needed to check my toolkit regarding an update to my application status. YIKES! The increasing frequency of blogs indicating problems occurring in the whole application / placement process has caused me to have thoughts I have needed to suppress. So, here it was, something is not going well in the Peace Corps placement process and it has grown to affect an Invitee awaiting Staging.

With considerable trepidation, I opened my PC Toolkit and found this:

But, how can that be? I received Dental Clearance last August! I have documentation from my Toolkit back in August, 2010:

Peace Corps has completed your dental review. There are no dental holds on your account at this time."

Nine months later I am having second screenings? I waited until 9AM and called the Dental Evaluations Assistant. No answer, so I left a message. Now, over 6 hours later and nearing the end of the PC Headquarters' workday, I have still not received a returned call. I tried another call, but again got no answer.

Just when I was getting really comfortable with my plans and was studying Macedonian history, creating a packing list and studying Macedonian language basics, I find myself back in PC-applicant mode; Anxiously waiting and trying to practice patience.

We must always maintain PMA!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MAK-16 has been started and is growing!

At the urging of Mary, another Invitee, I have initiated a Facebook Group - - - "MAK-16" which has already attracted some PCVs presently in Macedonia in addition to some Invitees.

To get to the Facebook Group page, highlight the following link, then right-click on it and open the link.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

April, 2010 - Application submitted - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - April, 2011 - PCA Send Off Event

I have included a Macedonian flag among my desk-top flag display representing my immediate family:

The other flags represent, our American nationality along with my wife's Irish heritage, my own German heritage, my Son-in-law's Guatemalan heritage, and my daughter-in-law's Chinese heritage. I couldn't resist adding the flag of the United Nations.

344 days after submitting my PC application, I received my written invitation in the mail. 23 days after that, I was an invited particpant in a "Send Off Event" sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Peace Corps Association, in which RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) in the Philadelphia area pass the torch to current invitees and nominees. This was an informal evening of mingling and celebrating the legacy of Peace Corps. RPCVs representing each decade of the PC's history spoke about their experiences during their service, following which, there was a candle lighting ceremony acknowledging each invitee and wishing all of us success in our assignments. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many RPCVs and have informal conversations about their experiences. I had the very good fortune to meet another invitee who will be part of the cohort I will be joining when I go to Macedonia. I also met RPCVs who had, or will soon have two tours of service. All in all, an inspiring evening and I left with a heightened sense of motivation and eager anticipation for actually getting into training and settling in to Macedonia.

So, I now have a fellow invitee with whom to correspond and share research information about our assigned country and thoughts about planning as we approach departure.

The next events between now and departure will be a Peace Corps Expo at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on 5/22 and participation in the Welcome America Parade on the 4th of July in the historic section of Philadelphia.