Friday, June 24, 2011

Farewell Party!

I'll be leaving the "South" to go back to Texas in a month to visit my family, so I've sent out my going away invitations (that I proudly made in photoshop!). I've asked everyone to bring a photo gift that I can carry with me to Senegal to decorate my hut!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My packing TO DO list

[Obvious] CLOTHING
[X]Tank tops, 12
[X]Short sleeve tees (all cotton or cotton poly blend)
[X]A few lightweight blouses
[ ]A polo for “business casual”
[X]Zip-up fleece (for the “cold” season)
[X]Rain coat (I ordered a Columbia off ebay)
[X]multi-wear dress/skirts (these are supposed to be easy to get in country)
[X]Lightweight pants, 6 (cargo and linen)
[ ]Jeans (for the “cold” season)
[X]PJ pants & shorts
[X]Undergarmets (bring a LOT and cycle through a few at a time)
[ ]Bathing suit
[X]Chaco sandals (discounted!)
[ ]Closed shoe
[X]SunglasseS (I tend to scratch them)
[ ]Towel & washcloth (for training months)
[ ]2 in 1 Pantene shampoo and conditioner
[ ]Johnson & Johnson baby soap (for my baby skin)
[ ]Facewash & packaged face wipes (I’m trying to find one that I will like now)
[X]Razor and a supply of refills
[X]2 sticks of deodorant (they last a long time)
[ ]Several soft toothbrushes & 3 tubes of toothpaste
[ ]Tons of hairbands & bobbypins
[X]Small Mirror
[X]Fingernail clippers & file
[ ]Bug repellent
[X]Very basic cosmetics
[X]Scissors (for hair!)
[X]Hand sanitizer

[X]Nalgene waterbottle
[ ]Large and small Ziplock Bags
[ ]Junk food
[ ]drink mixes (packets & fake Nestea!)
[ ]Luna bars, mmm.
[ ]Food seasoning (creole!)

[X]Digital camera, charger, & memory cardS
Unlocked cell phone & charger? (purchase a cheap local phone )
Rechargeable AA and AAA batteries
[ ]USB flash drive/external hard drive
[ ]Laptop
[X]Ipod & Itouch (with cases)
[X]Extra headphones
[X]solar charger ugh. (Ill be in the boondocks of Africa)
[X]Blank CD/DVDs
[ ]Plug adapter
[X]Gerber multi-tool
[X]Sleep sheet (a sheet sleeping bag)
[ ]Compact battery-powered alarm clock
[X]Handy watch :)
[ ]Plastic document/file folder
[X]Pencils & pens
[X]Journals & notebooks (Moleskine)
[ ]Stationary & envelopes
[ ]Duct tape
[X]head lamp
[X]sewing kit
[X]Photos of family and friends (Ill ask them to bring one at my going away party)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Aspiration Statement

Jessica Cochran
August 28, 2011
A: During my Peace Corps service in Senegal, I plan to use my knowledge gained as a biology major as well as through my research on invasive plant species. I will also employ my personal innovative skills, including my natural creativity, problem solving,and management. My skills gained thus far will be utilized, along with more that I anticipate to learn in training, to employ agroforestry techniques.
I aspire to discover just as much from the local community as I teach during my Peace Corps service. I hope to be a mediator between available technology and the local community in order to better their lives, no matter how insignificant the changes may seem.

B: I intend to use my personal attributes to motivate my host partners in order to meet their specific needs. I want to practice team work, leadership, and resolve conflicts along the way.

C: I think that the key to adapting to another culture is by complete immersion.
Communication will be my most important strategy to open the doors to new and different ideas, which I will readily absorb and try to understand without being offended or defensive. I am curious and open-minded to my surrounding world, which is my personal approach. I believe that when my desire to learn meets with interactions, I will be able to sink into the environment and culture.
D: At pre-service training, I hope to gain thorough knowledge covering safety tips and instructions first and foremost. Once my final region of service and accompanying local language is revealed, I hope to either polish my French or quickly undertake the additional language. I trust that the agroforestry job duties, techniques, local contacts, and job related goals will all be shared so I can best carry out my future project. In addition, I hope that the abilities and needs have been assessed for the designated area. I want to learn about local traditions and expectations prior to entering the community to decrease the amount of surprises.

E: I expect that this eye-opening experience will teach me a new appreciation for things that I take advantage of on a daily basis in America including my opportune status. I believe that I will find a deep selflessness and it will continue through my future work. As a result of learning the local morals and religious values, I believe that I could further myself into my own faith. I would like to live more wholesomely and believe that it could become a stronger part of my character traits. I’ve had a mind set for dental school throughout my college career, but believe that my volunteer experience with the Peace Corps could change either my career path or expand my outreach goals. On a lighter note, I think that shifting gears from my demanding schedule to an African community could relax my mind and allow me to focus on more than just the fast pace.

:) thanks.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

PC Paperwork

I've been working through the thick PC invitation booklet and have finally completed the time sensitive material. --happy hands--

1. I mailed my passport & visa by the four specific instruction pages provided.
Yes, it was still confusing.

2. I sent my host country, SENEGAL!! , updated and relevant material, which made me question my qualifications momentarily.

3. I have a stack left to finish.

Peace Corps Invitation

I finally received my much anticipated invitation package (from an angry UPS driver with a pitching arm) at the beginning of June. I was in a complete state of awe as the only thing between my foreign assignment and my solicitous eyes was a sticky seal. . .

And there it was!
Congratulations to me.

I was invited to serve in Senegal for Agroforestry in August, 2011