Jordan

Living Conditions

Communications

Mail

Advise family and friends to send all letters via air mail. Mail can sometimes take as long as two to four weeks between U.S. and Jordan in either direction. Packages can be sent via international mail through the U.S. postal system. All packages addressed to you are subject to customs

Telephones

Generally, high-quality, long-distance communication is available. Cellphones from the United States will not work here. Cellphones can be purchased in Jordan; the Peace Corps provides very basic cellphones to Volunteers for safety and security purposes. Volunteers can also use these phones to keep in touch with family and friends in Jordan and in the United States. Volunteers pay for airtime out of their living allowances.

Internet

While computers are available in most schools and in some host agencies in Jordan, you should not expect your worksite to have Internet access or email. Internet cafes are found in all major cities, usually at a cost of JD1 (US$1.40) per hour. Most Volunteers bring laptops. Each year, more Volunteers have access and decide to have Internet hooked up in their homes at their permanent sites. The Peace Corps office has three computers and a printer for Volunteer use during office hours.

Housing and Site Location

After completing pre-service training, you will move to your actual worksite for two years of service. You will receive your assignment partway through training, once the staff in Jordan has had the opportunity to get to know you and make an appropriate match. Your host agency or school will have helped to identify acceptable housing within the local community. As a Volunteer, you are more than an employee doing a job. You are considered a member of the community in which you work, and there is no better way to demonstrate this than by being visible and involved. Your living accommodation is intended to be simple and comparable to your Jordanian neighbors. Most buildings in Jordan are concrete and not insulated. Your house/apartment will likely have indoor plumbing and electricity with one or two rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. When working, the electricity runs 50 cycles, 220 volts. Surges and cuts strain voltage converters and appliances, so bring good-quality items. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers. Batteries are generally easy to find, but some Volunteers bring rechargeable ones for electronics. The Peace Corps will provide a settling-in allowance for the purchase of essential household items. Other Volunteers will be within relatively close proximity due to Jordan’s small size and reliable transportation. You may have another Volunteer in the same village, or it may be a few hours by bus to the nearest Volunteer site.

Living Allowance and Money Management

Volunteers receive a monthly allowance in local currency that is sufficient to live at the level of the local people. The allowance covers food, housing, household supplies, clothing, transportation to and from work, utilities, recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to live at a level that is comparable with that of their host country counterparts. The Peace Corps discourages Volunteers from supplementing their living allowance with funds from home. However, Volunteers often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. For this, credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.
Each Volunteer receives a monthly allowance sufficient to cover basic costs. The allowance enables you to live adequately according to the Peace Corps’ philosophy of a modest lifestyle. It is based on the local cost of living and is paid in local currency. Your living allowance is intended to cover food, housing, clothing, transportation from home to worksite, utilities, household supplies, recreation and entertainment, incidental personal expenses, communications, and reading material.

Food and Diet

In most parts of Kenya, there is a wide choice of foods, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats. With a little creativity, you can enjoy a varied diet. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal. Vegetarian Volunteers will have little difficulty in continuing their diets after becoming familiar with local food items and their preparation.

Transportation

All Volunteers will be expected to travel in Kenya using local transportation (i.e., foot, bicycle, public buses, or matatu van). This includes getting from your training center to your site both during and at the end of pre-service training. Volunteers may not own or operate motorized vehicles (including motorcycles), but they are allowed to rent vehicles during approved vacation periods. Trainees and Volunteers are not allowed to drive any vehicle during training or at their sites, Volunteers are not allowed to operate or ride on the back of a motorcycle. If a Volunteer rides on the back of a “bicycle taxi,” he/she must wear a bicycle helmet. Refusal of these policies will result in administrative separation from Peace Corps Kenya. We strongly recommend that you purchase a bicycle helmet in the U.S. It is a Peace Corps requirement that helmets have the approval of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC). You will be reimbursed up to $30 for a helmet upon presentation of a receipt. (Helmets approved by the USCPSC are very difficult to find in Kenya!) All Volunteers are given the option to purchase a bicycle. Peace Corps allocates money in your moving-in allowance to purchase a bicycle, helmet, and tools. If you choose to purchase a bicycle, it can be used with your extension work, in conjunction with the use of public transport.

Social Activities

The most common form of entertainment in rural communities is socializing with friends and family. Volunteers will take part in the various festivities, parties, and storytelling sessions within their communities. Many Volunteers bring or buy a shortwave radio to listen to international broadcasts (e.g., BBC and Voice of America). Satellite radio receivers and service can be bought in Nairobi.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

Volunteers should always wear clean and neat clothes. Buttoned shirts for men and blouses and skirts or dresses for women are appropriate wear during business hours. Tank tops, see-through blouses, or extremely low-cut blouses are not appropriate attire. Jeans should not be worn during business hours unless the conditions of the job assignment or training activity allow it, and never when visiting government offices or the training center. Women may not wear casual slacks or jeans during business hours unless the conditions of the training activity or job assignment require it, and never when visiting government offices or the training center. Dresses and skirts to or below the knees are appropriate attire for women. Shorts may be worn at home, when exercising, or when doing work where Kenyan counterparts are also wearing shorts. Your hair should be clean and combed. For men, beards should be neatly trimmed. Male Volunteers should not wear earrings as body piercing in general for both sexes may be a source of suspicion and criticism. We encourage Volunteers with tattoos to keep them covered and out of sight as much as possible. Visible tattoos are not permissible during training or your first six months at site.