I wanted to go ahead and get a blog started about my upcoming transition in life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Azerbaijan. I also thought this was a great way for my family and friends to learn more about my country prior to leaving. I am set to depart on September 28th and will be in Azerbaijan for 27 months working in the area of Youth Development.
To answer the majority of questions I get on a regular basis:
I will be flying to Philly and then taking a bus to NY City to fly over to Baku (Azerbaijan's capital). Once there I will be living outside of Baku with a host family for three months during my orientation. I think I will be staying in Sumqayit - a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) in the country mentioned this area. After the three months, I will then be sworn in as a volunteer and move to my host city where I will be for 24 months. No I am not able to come home, but my family / friends are able to come over to visit me.
This is a great website to learn more about the current events in Azerbaijan so please check it out: http://www.today.az/.
The official language is Azerbaijani or Azeri for short. It is a majority Mulism country located in the Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea. Their culture is a lot more conservative than the U.S. so there will be some restrictions I will need to adhere to as a woman, but I will not be required to cover my whole body. I will be working with youth and young adults focusing my activities to: working directly with youth helping them to become more successful and responsible adults in the future; working with youth service providers and organizations within the country to better serve their local community in the area of youth; and engaging parents and other community adults to help them to recognize young people for their talents / contributions, supporting greater participation in the community.
My reasons for joining the Peace Corps are quite simple: this is something I was born to do. I want to dedicate my life to helping others and I hope to gain an insight into ways to help young people in our world today work towards positive change in their local community. I understand that I am going to learn more than I can teach anyone in Azerbaijan. If anything I can provide them at this point is just as a friend and share the love that I have to bring happiness to the live's of others.
Please feel free to comment or send suggestions for things I may need to bring with me on my trip.