14 March 2008

certified learner

I'm working on my expanded resume to submit to Peace Corps Togo so they can best prepare my pre-service training and, presumably, to help them determine what volunteer work I would be best suited performing.

They define specifically what to include in my resume. One part is 'relevant coursework'. So I've been looking through my transcripts from high school, undergrad at Notre Dame, and grad at Edinburgh.
I took some really amazing courses at Notre Dame. Stuff like:

En/gendering Christianity - including looking at feminine aspects of the Judeo-Christian god as found in the texts of the New and Old Testaments. My teacher was also happy to take in a guest speaker on transgender issues, S Bear Bergman, that OUTreachND (the outlawed queer student group) had invited to give a presentation.

Elementary Cosmology - arts students getting to explore the universe and learn about black holes and physics with all of the theory and very little of the maths

French Travelers to North Africa - studying amazing French literature and analyzing it in context with Edward Said's Orientalism

Studies in Criticsm - looking at opera and using gender and race theory to tear it apart and build it up again

Non-Western Political Thought - an amazing class, especially if you took the initiative to really get all the readings done and develop a good working relationship with the professor (he became my thesis advisor)

Negres/Africains/Negropolitain - a French literature class that focussed on the works of Africans in former French colonies. Amazing teacher and a brilliant array of literature I would never have thought to look for before.

Global Feminisms - taught at the adjacent women's college by a fierce and warm-hearted Palestinian woman, this was an amazing chance for me to explore the world as experienced by women. I'd never realized just how sheltered I was before.

Finally, Witchcraft and the Occult - yes, a history class on the occult taught at the US's most prestigious Catholic university. Even better? My teacher supported my friend and I through applying for (and receiving) a grant to travel to England and speak in person with an emerging Goddess-based religious group to gather information for our respective dissertations for the class.

and that's only a start...

No wonder I felt slightly uninspired by the curriculum choices at Edinburgh (although I did find some amazing courses there as well)

01 March 2008

Dressing up

So my assignment booklet says "normal attire is 'casual business' and is fairly conservative. This includes ... modest dresses/skirts with a nice blouse for women. Slacks are rarely worn by women..."

"...sleeveless shirts and shorter skirts... and wearing flip-flops are not appropriate... Wearing less modest clothing can diminish the respect community members have for Peace Corps Volunteers and can make the work of PCVs much more challenging and ultimately ineffective."

Uh oh.

I knew I would have to buy some new things for the Peace Corps, I didn't realise I'd have to shift my clothing comfort zone THAT far.

Especially considering the average temperature in Togo is 22.5 - 33 degrees Celsius.
This is the annual average... not just the summer average. How do people possibly wear dress clothes in that kind of heat?

At least I've got a few months to start looking around for acceptable clothing (and stocking up on baby powder to ward off that painful 'chub rub' as my mum calls it).