Recently on the peacecorps2 Yahoo! newsgroup, someone posed a question about Staging. I replied by describing what I remembered about Staging in Miami.
It got me thinking about those first hours of my Training in 1998. That, and the fact that I received my Guyana Handbook a few days ago in the mail... finally! Getting the handbook is like verification that this is real, it is really happening! But unlike the late 90s, the Peace Corps now offers their handbooks on CD-ROM, a new strategy which, I think, reflects the growing impact of computers in our lives, and even those of the people we will serve. After all, one of the fastest-growing segments of PC service is Information and Technology. Most of the people out there writing blogs during their service are IT people, so maybe that has something to do with the seeming explosion in IT volunteers, but still. Anyway, I read everything the CD-ROM had to offer, knowing based on experience that like 99% of it would be recovered ad infinitum during Staging and Training. It consisted of a .pdf file of nearly a hundred pages covering all aspects of Guyana, from history and politics, to living conditions and health concerns. Identical in all ways to my old Eastern Caribbean handbook, save being on CD, it helped round out my understanding of Guyana. Maybe some day I'll post some of the information, but I remember a certain volunteer who ran afoul of Peace Corps information standards, so faithful readers will have to wait a while until I determine what is safe and what is not.
The CD, however, did come with something very useful -- a packing list! As soon as I finalize mine, I'll post it here. Until then, check out the great one over at brokekid's site.