Greetings from The Gambia!
If you are reading this message, then you are probably thinking about serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer or simply want to learn more about the Peace Corps program in The Gambia. This year, Peace Corps is celebrating 50 years of partnership between the United States and The Gambia. Given the long and rich history of Peace Corps service in The Gambia, people have an extremely high regard for the Peace Corps. New Volunteers will become part of a very distinguished tradition.
In all manner of work and life, Volunteers work in partnership with the people of the Gambia to empower individuals and communities, build capacity, and promote cross-cultural understanding. Volunteers are trained to speak a local language, live with a host family, learn from a host community, and work side by side with counterparts.
All of our trainees undertake an intensive 8 to 10-week program that provides language training, technical instruction, and cross-cultural information that is critical for integration and adjustment. This pre-service training (PST) is considered the most intense period of a Volunteer's service. Trainees need to master the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully serve as a Volunteer. Each trainee will also need to meet the criteria to qualify for Volunteer service. We will do everything possible to support each trainee during this period, but most of the work is on the shoulders of the trainee. While pre-service training will be extremely busy, it should be a time of excitement, challenge, discovery and growth. Drawing on reserves of openness and patience, and a sense of humor, the effort and frustration of functioning in a different culture will be rewarded with a sense of belonging in a new environment. New and difficult tasks learned will pay off in the ability to work effectively in a challenging job.
I believe you will find, as I have, that The Gambia is a unique country that offers a combination of rich culture, friendly people, and close personal relationships. From the day visitors arrive in-country, they are immersed in the dynamic, complicated, supportive culture of West Africa and The Gambia. Over the course of two years, Volunteers discover, try, and achieve things in an environment that offers a unique independence that may only be realized, or appreciated, upon return to the United States. Many Volunteers in The Gambia find their experience both challenging and rewarding.
I look forward to working with you should you decide to join us in The Gambia. It is an experience that will inevitably change your life in many ways, as well as offer you an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of those with whom you work.
Peace Corps in The Gambia