04 November 2010

Peer Support

Wow. November already. I've been back in Togo for two weeks plus now, and it's been quite a roller coaster - I've only slept at home 4 nights! We had an amazing and very fruitful peer support network training in Lome. I led the training with the help of L, the other PCVL and I, a Peace Corps staff member. I was really grateful for the training I'd received at Victim Support Scotland and LGBT Youth. I felt really well prepared and that my experiences in Scotland were really useful and relevant. Who'd've guessed, right?
We're set up very informally - 7 peer supporters that were chosen based on a motivation essay they wrote and a couple recommendations from other volunteers about the candidate's ability to be a good supporter - a good example, nurturing, and commited to confidentiality. We talked about the stressors in PCVs lives, from work to home life to competition with other volunteers.
I'd done some research on PC and PCVs experience of stress. Some study that rated stress levels classified entering the Peace Corps as 2 times as stressful as the death of your spouse, and 9 times as stressful as getting pregnant.
Seeing those kinds of comparisons is somehow comforting. It certainly makes me feel better about my bungee jumping mood swings and near narcolepsy.

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