AP Psychology – AP Test Preparation

click on the link below for a comprehensive list of review videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/SchallhornAPPsych/videos

 

Click on “The Random & Obscure” link below to download a PowerPoint of obscure concepts you might come across on the AP exam 

The Random & Obscure …

Click on the “Key People Review” link below to download a PowerPoint of key psychologists & researchers you should know for the AP exam 

 KeyPeopleReview

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Barrons

 http://www.barronsbooks.com/AP/psych/

simulation heuristic

http://cat.xula.edu/thinker/decisions/heuristics/ 

vocab

http://pratheeknagaraj.webs.com/psychologyvocab.htm 

Developmental Psychology – Unit Test

Developmental Word Cloud

Essential terms for identification: there are 24 essential terms from the developmental unit listed below. Pick 10 terms to identify, give an example to demonstrate its meaning and explain “why” each term is significant to human development.

Maturation

Conservation Attachment

Imprinting

Psychosocial Development

Neglectful Parents

Zone of Proximal Development

Egocentrism Schema
Accommodation Longitudinal Design

Indulgent Parents

Assimilation

Object Permanence

Cross-sectional Design

Authoritarian Parents

Sex-Typing

Stranger Anxiety

Authoritative Parents

Sensitive Period

Strange Situation

Separation Anxiety Sequential Design

Critical Period

Essays: five free response (essay) questions are listed below. Choose one to answer fully. Make sure to provide solid examples and give good detail to clarify “why” your examples support your thesis.

  • How well do you get along with your parents? Considering what you have learned in this unit about parenting and parent-child relationships, are there aspects of your upbringing that you think your parents could have handled better than they did? Do you think you have the ability to do a better job of parenting children in their formative years than your parents did? Explain and give specifics – including vocabulary from this unit.
  • Mr. Krause has been giving unfair quizzes all semester. You have failed a few and several of your friends were in danger of failing the class due to poor quiz performance. His quiz items simply did not correlate well with what he presented in class or what was in the book. You stop by his classroom at lunch to discuss a problem that you have in understanding a particular psychological theory. Mr. Krause is not there, but the classroom door is wide open and sitting on his desk is a stack of tomorrow’s quiz. You know you can improve both your performance on the quiz and perhaps help several of your friends pass the class if you get a look at it. What do you do? Why? Based on Kohlberg’s levels of moral development, classify your decision using specifics from his stages.
  • In the debate over nature versus nurture in human development, there are many factors to take into consideration. For example maturation, or the genetic instructions for how our bodily and mental functions unfold (e.g., standing before walking), coincides with our level of attachment and care with our primary care givers. Breakdown one of the projects presented in this unit and examine how the idea of nature vs. nurture help shape our development across the life span. Incorporate various theories from the psychologists studied. Also, explain why this debate is so important to psychology and social science.
  • What is attachment and how is it crucial to emotional development in infancy, childhood and throughout the lifespan? Go in depth highlighting Harlow, Ainsworth and Bowlby’s research into attachment. Address how attachment or lack thereof in infancy can impact a person later in life. Make conclusions about the importance of emotional attachment by speculating on possible consequences of poor attachment.
  • How are Freud’s and Erikson’s theories of development similar and how do they differ? Use examples from Dexter Morgan’s case file to demonstrate these similarities and differences. Be specific in both psychologist’s theories, explaining important stages of development, their consequences on human development and by speculating on how they connect to Dexter’s life as we know it. Synthesize all you know to date about human development and whether you think Freud and Erikson’s theories are relevant to either your life to those in your life.

John Mackenzie School Theatre Production

“12 Angry Jurors” (12 Angry Men) is a 1957 American drama film adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. The play tells the story of a jury made up of 12 individuals as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. In the United States (both then and now), a verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous. The play & film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set, the entire production takes place in the jury’s deliberation room.

12 Angry Jurors explores many techniques of consensus-building, and the difficulties encountered in the process, among a group of people whose range of personalities adds intensity and conflict. No names are used in the play: the defendant is referred to as “the boy” and the witnesses as the “old man” and “the lady across the street”.

Plot
The story begins in a courtroom where an 18-year-old boy (presented as a member of an unspecified minority group) from a New York city slum is on trial for allegedly stabbing his father to death. Final closing arguments are presented, and the judge then instructs the jury to decide whether the boy is guilty of murder. The judge further informs them that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence.

The twelve-person jury retires to a private room, where they spend a short while getting acquainted before they begin deliberating. It is immediately apparent that the jurors have already decided that the boy is guilty, and that they plan to return their verdict quickly, without taking time for discussion – with the sole exception of Juror Number 8. She is the only “not guilty” vote in a preliminary tally. She explains that there is too much at stake for her to go along with the verdict without at least talking about it first. Her vote annoys the other jurors, especially Juror 7, who has tickets to the evening’s theatre production, and Juror 10, who believes that everyone from slum backgrounds is evil. The rest of the play’s focus is the jury’s difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict.

Connecting One Year Later


I love my Peace Corps service, my time in Africa and the personal development I have gained thus far!

Sometimes the hardest part of a Peace Corps Volunteer’s (PCV) services is attempting to explain to friends and family back home what we experience during our 27 months of service. Our triumphs are relayed by quarters and fiscal years. And yet sometimes we have to gauge success by smiles and understanding piece-meal conversations with taxi drivers on our way to the grocery store. There are highs and lows all within a matter of minutes. I believe that a lot of the difficulty that we as volunteers have while serving in Peace Corps comes from the, “I’m so proud of you” praise and, “I really envy what you are doing” comments. Why would these statements be problematic? Because there are a lot of times when we are not proud of ourselves.

Last week I attended my groups Mid Service Training (MST). This training happens for all PCV’s worldwide after being at their site for one year. I’ve now completed one year in Francistown, Botswana. MST not only serves as a marker for our service while in Peace Corps but also allows volunteers and more importantly, friends to come together and share their experiences. We highlighted our triumphs and defeats. We shared our frustrations and excitement for the year ahead. During this process we realized that so much of the past year has been plagued by fears of letting down those we love back home. This comes about because when we applied for Peace Corps service, our eyes were wide with enthusiasm and our hearts yearned for overseas experiences that would not only guide our future endeavors but hopefully satisfy a curiosity and love for helping others.  Sometimes reality lands a damaging blow to the hopes that PCV’s had laid out for two years abroad.

The vast majority of our time in country is positive and rewarding on many levels. However, it’s the failures, both in our work and our hearts, which trump our mood. We don’t like complaining or seeming ungrateful. Most importantly, we don’t want to feel like we’ve let down those back home whom we have left for two years.

My time and service in Botswana has been amazing and something that I wouldn’t trade for anything else. Nevertheless, I have negative thoughts and hypercritical feelings that make me feel…not like me. Intolerance creeps in and frustration can rule the day.

When I applied to Peace Corps in the fall of 2008, I was interviewed by a recruiter who asked me what I thought the most difficult aspect of serving in Peace Corps would be. Without hesitation I replied that it would be the “readjustment to life back home post service.” The past six months have been the most rewarding and the most difficult for me. The commonality between the good and bad in Peace Corps is that I can’t explain to those that I care for most back home what is going on day-by-day. I experience so much and have undergone many changes. The only way to consolidate, expand upon and express my time in Botswana would be to capture it as a reality show.

Unless one is a PCV, it’s not possible to understand the highs and lows of what we go through here. So how do I communicate over the next eleven months? When I return to the states, how do I choose to interact with those interested in hearing about my time away? One common experience many PCV’s convey upon return home is the glossy-eyed looks that attach themselves to our fiends and family after five minutes of divulging our experiences in Peace Corps. They recount how they feel alone, trying to tell a simple but meaningful story while not feeling heard. Many volunteers travel the states to visit other PCV’s within the first month of returning home just to feel connected to someone who can understand them. Why do I write these messages now and not next May when I’m closing out my last weeks of service? Maybe it’s preparing myself, trying to find a method for coping with these experiences. Perhaps it’s a bigger issue in that by stating now that no one can possibly understand my situation, I can feel better when the inevitable happens. Or maybe this is the only way for me to come up with an excuse for being absent in my blog writing; a practice I had hoped would keep me connected instead of feeling distant.

Collective Efficacy

the_invisible_cure_cover2
“The ability of people to join together and help one another…collective action and mutual aid, a spirit that is impossible to measure or quantify, but that is rooted in a sense of compassion and common humanity”
-Helen Epstein

I cannot take credit for the following post. I have been reading Helen Epstein’s, “The Invisible Cure” which has created a shift in not only my thinking but also mood and outlook as I ponder the remaining 18 months of my Peace Corps service in Botswana. If you want to understand why HIV/AIDS is so widespread in Southern Africa and as Helen states in the title of her book, why we are losing the fight against AIDS in Africa, you need to look no further than to navigate the chapters of her text. I have quoted her in several places in this post. I urge all readers of this blog to read her book to fully understand the context in which I hope to convey her many important points of view and investigative findings.

Important Terminology:

Multiple Concurrent Partners (MCP): having more than one sexual partner at the same time.
PEPFAR: President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief; initially a 15 billion dollar U.S. HIV/AIDS funding package that primarily caters to African nations. Provides money for ARV treatment programs in Botswana, testing centers and some preventative programs geared towards abstinence only education.
Batswana: the people of Botswana

I’ve been agonizing over how to update my blog since my last entry in early August. Nothing came to mind. I thought about incorporating my daily activities and struggles and illustrating the memorable stories that I’ve experienced thus far. I even thought about how I should detail the goals that I set for myself, in so far as adapting to living in a developing country, giving everyone back home a feel for how my time in Botswana was difficult and yet rewarding at the same time. Unfortunately, and to my own detriment, I also rejected any blog posts that didn’t convey a more uplifting and cheery side of Botswana and the culture. I changed my mind yesterday when I had one of the most uplifting days thus far during my Peace Corps experience and it occurred, though only partly from my acceptance that a lot of what I am doing, what I want to achieve, and more so, what many aid agencies and government officials are attempting to accomplish with regard to Botswana’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, is misguided. Maybe I should retract that last word.

When 60 of us began our “pre-service training” (PST) for Peace Corps six months ago, I began wondering if there was anything we could really do to help. I am referring to all of the following: Peace Corps, white-westerners, developed countries, 60 two-year volunteers, “makoa”. Can we make a difference? Are we even wanted here?

During the time that I was beginning my high school years in Idaho, Botswana was seeing HIV rates soar, along with the rest of Southern Africa. This was the early 90’s and ARV treatments were nowhere in sight of being introduced for those who were infected, let alone being subsidized by the Botswana government as they are today. The nation and the continent were inundated, much like HIV attacking CD4 tells of the human immune system, by those affected by the death of a loved one, friend or neighbor to AIDS. This has been my bewilderment: How could a nation and a continent not consciously tackle behavior change and more importantly, decrease their prevalence rates with this level of influence from AIDS and its wake? With so many people dying in small villages and the urban centers of this country, why were Batswana not emotionally triggered to take action? Why was the Peace Corps invited back to Botswana to strictly address HIV/AIDS capacity building; in a country that had seen it’s fair share of HIV related deaths? And ultimately for my part, what can I do to “help” when real life trauma can’t propel the behavior change train?

Here’s the catch, they didn’t know about HIV/AIDS. More precisely, they didn’t want to know. This statement may sound a little naive at first but let me clarify. HIV/AIDS has a history of stigmatization and discrimination behind it. Simply remember back to the propagation of homophobic connections between HIV and gay men; the “gay man’s cancer/plague”. Stigma and discrimination are nothing unique to western cultures in relation to this disease. What’s noteworthy however, and replica table here in Africa, are the responses taken by the gay community in the states during the 80’s and 90’s; community mobilization.

Botswana is still addressing stigma of those with HIV/AIDS and I believe this is the direction the government must fully address and finance. As I discussed in an earlier blog post, I had to temper a lot of my expectations joining the Peace Corps and especially once I arrived in Botswana. I haven’t done as well at it as I would like to believe. I had grand notions of implementing like-minded programs that I ran in the states. I looked at my previous work experiences and kept drawing upon them for inspiration. A myriad of projects and proposals glittered in my head as I drafted GAANT charts and calendars for programmatic implementation plans in notebooks and on scraps of paper whilst sitting in workshops. Not only did I begin to look at how these programs would be successful and meet some nation-wide strategic framework but that by the time I finished my stint in Francistown, I could be proud of my accomplishments; accomplishments that would speak for themselves on my resume.

What if the answer is rather simplistic in nature though difficult in execution? What if people became emotionally invested in their neighbor’s life or felt a collective urgency to do battle with a virus, a disease, a chronic illness that doesn’t discriminate whether you are a child, a prostitute, a virgin, a circumcised male, a political figure, a mother, or a frequent condom user. These “what if’s” revert back to individuals and community members wanting to know their own HIV status along with caring for those who are living positively with the virus or dying from opportunistic infections that plague those with full blown AIDS. How is this done? How did Uganda appear to do it 20 years ago? And why can’t Botswana and the rest of Southern Africa do it today?

“In 2003, the only African country that had seen a nationwide decline in HIV prevalence was Uganda. Since 1992 the HIV rate had fallen by some two-thirds, a success that saved perhaps a million lives. The programs and policies that led to this success… was played by the ordinary, but frank, conversations people had with family, friends, and neighbors – not about sex, but about the frightening, calamitous effects of AIDS itself. These painful personal conversations did more than anything else to persuade Ugandans to come to terms with the reality of AIDS, care for the afflicted, and change their behavior… researchers found that people in other sub-Saharan African countries were far less likely to have such discussions.”

With so many Batswana dying years earlier, obviously they must have had an emotional connection and response, right? This is where stigma and discrimination in Southern African has played an enormous role in the spread of HIV. Even when family members were dying, their children, cousins, nephews, aunts & uncles didn’t “know” they were dying from AIDS. If individuals got tested for HIV (and that’s a big “if”) they probably didn’t return to the clinic for the results. During the 90’s, rapid response tests were not available. Usually a two-week turn around time was standard, “if” your blood tests were handled properly and tested in a timely fashion. Plus, clinics and hospitals were not prolific in nature with regard to providing HIV tests. Thus, a person may have to travel a great distance to get tested, especially in rural areas, which constitutes most of Botswana.

As an example, a women may have to hitch a ride to Francistown from a surrounding village, costing a great deal of money in Botswana terms, find someone to look after her child or more likely than not, take them along with her. This may also take place secretly from her husband or parents. Upon completion of her blood test, she is told to come back in two weeks to get the results. More money, time and crafted excuses to her family. In the end, she doesn’t make it back. Also very likely is the possibility that even if these obstacles weren’t grand in their nature, this women may not want to know her status because the truth could be traumatizing and subsequently not offer any solution or treatment anyway. If she is positive, and her family finds out, she risks being kicked out of the house, shunned by neighbors for being seen as “cursed” and/or “morally destitute”. She keeps her status unknown or if known, secret from everyone in her life. Assuming she is positive, she become sicker and eventually develops AIDS. Her family doesn’t know what’s wrong with her and as she is dying, she complains of debilitating head-aches, one symptom of an opportunistic infection of AIDS patients, When she actually passes on, in a remote hospital ward- removed from view and thought of those in her community, people ask her family why she is “late”, they say from head-ache. No autopsy is done, as so many cases like these are happening throughout her village and her death certificate reads: cause of death – unknown. The family doesn’t pursue the issue because even if they know that it was AIDS related, conveying that to the rest of the community still brings shame to them and possible discrimination; neighbors stop interacting each other and in some cases assault and vandalism occurs. If a generation learns to ignore, live in denial and close off the realities that HIV/AIDS brings to their lives, then its no wonder why there hasn’t been an emotional component in Botswana; a tipping point that prompts behavior change and reduces Botswana as having the second highest prevalence rate in the world.

Other Peace Corps volunteers have shared their experiences with me of living in rural villages and detailing the low levels of understanding of how HIV is spread. The Botswana government is bolstering resources for a nation-wide life skills curriculum geared toward furthering HIV/AIDS education in the schools. In fact, roughly one quarter of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV’s) in Botswana are working in schools; capacity building this program. However, many youth and adults in urban centers and larger villages can adequately explain the modes of HIV transmission and offer up methods of prevention; abstinence, faithfulness, condomizing to name the heavy hitters. This regurgitation of scientific facts and debated protective measures doesn’t appear to be the problem or the solution.

Botswana is one of the main recipients of PEPFAR funds, UNAIDS support, and Global Fund interventions. Why don’t we see dramatic shifts in incidence rates? One of many reasons is arguably due to the poor monitoring and evaluation programs tied to gathering data of HIV infection rates. Nevertheless, one would think that the massive HIV/AIDS industrial complex that exists in Botswana and elsewhere in the world, would somehow be able to illustrate some dramatic shift in new infections; some measurable shift due to well funded preventative measures. Are we making things more complicated than they need to be? Are we focusing too much on the abstinence versus condoms arguments? I have no doubt that Multiple Concurrent Partnerships (MCP’s) are the primary factor behind Botswana fighting out the number one and two slots for highest prevalence rates with Swaziland. But, are MCP’s merely a symptom of a larger problem? Are MCP’s happening, not just because of so-called cultural practices and history, but because there is “no sense of collective urgency to rouse people into action…their compassion and hard work bringing the disease into the open, getting people talking about the epidemic, reducing AIDS-related stigma and denial and leading to a profound shift in sexual norms.” At present, it seems more commonsensical than spending millions on advertising campaigns and slogans. So, what to do now? Though I doubt that the answer is staring back at me in my fantasy basketball league, I think having a positive coping mechanism at least delays this answer for the time being and helps me get some semblance of accomplishment out of my daily activities.

Adjusting Expectations

One of the most difficult parts of traveling and subsequently living in another culture is minimizing ones expectations. The past three and half months, and really the last six weeks that I’ve settled into living in Francistown, has tested this mindset. There is so much beauty here in Botswana. This obviously includes the profuse amounts of wildlife: elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, hippos, zebras, gazelles, crocodiles and every other African animal one sees on nature programs on PBS. This beauty also extends to the Batswana. Their families are rich in tradition and have a level of support that makes one question the ethical decisions of many westerners to place their elders in care facilities. With all that said, tackling HIV/AIDS in Botswana tests one’s patience.

I’ve definitely been tested over the past couple of weeks with regard to reassessing my contribution to this massive health problem. Sadly, HIV/AIDS has grown to be more of a problem then merely encompassing health. Botswana has approximately 1.8 millions people, covering a landmass that’s the same size and contains a similar geographical landscape as Texas. The land is hard, dry and doesn’t allow for much agricultural endeavors. As a result, Botswana imports a majority of its food from South Africa. These facts and many more test the economic viability of Botswana. So, my expectations of “helping” to build capacity have to take a step back and look at other components of this culture. Essentially, I have to find out why complacency and apathy towards this chronic disease is so high. While I work on this issue I’ll also try to tackle some income generating projects and skill based programs (such as time management, household budgeting and goal setting).

I have been matched to work with The Mother Theresa Resource Center in (Monarch) Francistown. For a number of years, the Roman Catholic Vicariate of Francistown has owned property in the Monarch area of Francistown. It has hosted a number of initiatives ranging from computers to sewing and weaving to a sports center. Unfortunately, they were not sustainable. Since the decline of these programs the vacant site became heavily vandalized.

Directly next door to the Monarch site (called “Boswa”) lie an old abandoned gold mine. A few years ago, on a site visit to view the damage at the Monarch site, the Bishop observed local children sliding on cardboard down the side of the hills created from the excavations from the shafts of the mine. This was their only recreational outlet. The bishop decided to use the Boswa site as a youth center for children in the area.

In the past year, with the support of outside benefactors and supporters, the Catholic Church has revitalized the site. This included securing the buildings, refurbishing the interiors with power and plumbing and clearing the yards and playing fields of accumulated debris (rocks, broken glass and sticker bushes). Along with the youth center on this site, future plans call for a new convent and church.

A little background: The Monarch area of Francistown is a very poor and neglected area of the city (think South side Chicago in the 80’s or the North end of Portland thirty years ago). Monarch battles for having the highest infection rates of HIV/AIDS in Francistown; not to mention throughout Botswana. Over the years, the government has been slow to provide social services to the area. In response to a very obvious need for an outlet for the local children and teens (many of them orphans), the church has set in motion a plan to establish a resource center for the community, specifically targeting OVC’s (Orphans & Vulnerable Children). The church does not have the financial capacity and human resources to tackle this project alone; only by empowering the local community and other affiliated care givers and social service resources can this program be successful and most importantly sustainable.

The Boswa site/center has been renamed The Mother Theresa Resource Center (MTRC) and over the past six months has been actively pursuing partnerships in the community, specifically geared toward programs for OVC’s. The target groups for MTRC are twofold – “after school” groups and “out of school” groups. In both cases, there is a need for full-time supervision on site and especially for the latter group. This is where my role begins as a Peace Corps volunteer. We’ve been working with the following groups to develop and implement programs at MTRC: District Commissioner, S & CD office, Monarch Kgosi, WMSAC (Ward Multi-Sectorial AIDS Committee), The Kings Foundation, SOS Children’s Village, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Youth Center Network, Youth Health Organization (YOHO), Tshesebe Outreach Project (TOP Banana), and the Catholic Vicariate of Francistown. We are also working with the District Commissioner’s office to purchase sporting and playground equipment, computers, and other supplies needed from a P50,000 grant (roughly $8,000 dollars).

Now my role: even though I am a “volunteer”, I am taking on the role of Site Coordinator for MTRC until we can find, fund and train a Motswana to take over. Ideally for me this will happen in the first six months of me being here. Its very important for the community to see this center and the programs we host as being run by a Motswana instead of a “Lakoa” (a white westerner). Nevertheless, my role encompasses program development (psycho-social programs, sporting activities, trainings and workshops, art classes, and anything else deemed as a need by the community). Also, I am working on identifying other stakeholders in Francistown and around Botswana to help with long term funding initiatives. Even though MTRC falls under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, we are registered as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Botswana. One current hurdle is setting up MTRC with this structure in mind: board of directors, budgets, strategic plans, marketing and funding strategies, program development and establishing operational mechanisms/tools.

I have one co-worker or what we call a “counterpart”. His name is John Curtin. He’s a very accomplished gentleman with long ties to the Catholic Church and Botswana. He holds dual citizenships in Canada and the United States. He’s a self-funded volunteer who’s been living in Francistown for the past year and a half. Aside from being very accomplished professionally, John has a huge heart and is deeply motivated in helping the OVC’s in Monarch.

As I previously mentioned, I’ve struggled with my expectations as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana. I remember telling myself before leaving the states to drop all expectations of what my life would be like for two years in Africa. I made a conscious decision to not role play in my mind what my day-to-day would look like. Throughout my first two months of Peace Corps training, PST (Pre-Service Training), I continually pushed back my hopes and goals for once I got to my site; wherever that may be. The interesting thing is that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t unload these thoughts. Among these was the idea that in two years I would accomplish so much and my presence and accomplishments would be felt for years to come. As selfish as this sounds, I think we as Americans, and especially those of us who apply to become a Peace Corps volunteer, are conditioned to see the Peace Corps and really any international development work as some saving grace for those we intend to live and work with. Though this wasn’t my motivation for becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, I would be deceiving myself if I didn’t say that I really hoped to accomplish something grand. Grand in relation to what I believed I would achieve in two years back in the states.

My sites are now set a lot lower. I’m referring back to the experiences I’ve had over the past twelve years. These include the jobs, education and trainings that I have been involved with. So, for those of you who are familiar with my time at Holiday Home Camp, Hostelling International, Dept. of Transportation in Oregon, IFSS, MMSD, ALPHA and even as a drama coach, I think you’ll begin to hear about me utilizing some of those experiences to develop income generating projects, tackle behavior change and to work on the basics of community/cultural identity here in Monarch. But, in the meantime, I’m setting the expectations bar a little lower. Time moves slower here. Resources, such as access to the internet and computers, printers, copiers are hard to come by. Where as in the states, I could throw together a workshop in a couple of weeks it might take me several months just to make sure an agenda is typed up and people in the community not only know about it but are continually prompted to attend. It’s definitely been interesting to think of the things I took for granted!

Yes, the past couple of weeks have been difficult emotionally as I assess and reassess why I am here. Every day I have to reassess what I hope to get done in a given week, in my first three months and by this time next year. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is how positive and supportive all of you back home have and continue to be!

Care Packages

usps-large-flat-rate-boxThe following care package “wish list” is by no means fixed; some surprises are a good thing.  Some Peace Corps Volunteers report receiving packages via flat rate boxes that tend to be more efficient in terms of arrival time and cost.

Care Package Wish List:

-Current event magazines & newspapers
-Coffee (pre-ground)
-Dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, peaches, etc.)

-Achiote seasoning
-Taco seasonings
-Flax seeds
-Arm & Hammer toothepaste
-Haines white v-neck t-shirts (large)
-Old Spice “After Hours” white stick deodorant
-Dr. Bronners Lavender soap
-Hydrogen Peroxide
-Cork Screw & Bottle Opener
-A good can opener
-Dental floss (the picks, not just the string)
-Milk chocolate
-“Mega Man” vitamins from GNC
-Gillette razor blades
-Crayons & Permanent markers

Pre-Service Training

botswana-map I arrived in Botswana on April 19th. I am conducting my Pre-Service Training (PST) in the town of Molepole, just north west of the capitol of Gaberone.

I am matched with a host family in Molepolole. My family consists of  approximately 10 members. After being matched with my host family, my host sister gave me the name of “Tebogo” (Tay-Bo-ho) which means ‘thanks’.

For the first couple of weeks, my days consisted of waking up around 6:00am, taking a ‘bucket’ bath and fixing myself breakfast. I meet with my language cluster (about four of us working in the NGO Capacity Building program) and our language instructor (“morutabana”) at 8:00am. At 10am we leave my house and either walk or take a taxi to the center  where we conduct cultural education training, HIV/AIDS training or other program specific education.

I arrive home between 5-6pm. My family usually has dinner prepared and we sit together in front of the t.v. watching the latest episodes of “Rhythm City” and “Scandal”; my two new favorite South African soap operas. I think that due to the ‘newness’ of everything: time change, temperature, culture and food I find myself going to bed really early (usually 8:00pm and no later than 9pm). I have heard this will change as I continue to adjust to Botwsana. Overall, everything is great and each day is exciting to wake up to.

Yesterday (May 6th), a group of eight volunteers took a ten hour bus ride up north to the city of Maun. Four of us are staying here until Sunday to shadow a current volunteer andsee their day-to-day activities. I am staying with another NGO Capacity Builder and am learning about  his NGO: W.A.R. (Women Against Rape).  This is a great organization and is the only rape crisis center in Botswana. Over the course of the next couple of days, I will  learn more about Maun and the community as a whole and will plan on going to the wildlife refuge too.

Even though we are entering the winter months in Botswana, the days are still in the high 80’s or warmer. Everything moves slower in Botswana than in the states but  Iam grateful for the change of pace.

Most notably so far are the stars! There is very little light pollution near my house and goingout on my front porch with a cup of tea and looking up at a new set of stars is not only relaxing but perhaps the highlight of my day. It’s nice taking time to just look up.