October 17, 2009

Life in Fast Forward--Peace Corps Bound!

Things around here are just going way too fast for me to keep up! I feel like I've got so much to write, yet no time to write it!

It's a little stressful these days getting Kate prepared for her big move. We have four days left to get everything in order. She leaves on Thursday morning. While I'm not all that worried about her going--it's more feeling excited for her grand adventure--there are enough details to make anyone crazy.

We ordered some basic fashion essentials for her life in Jordan. She is planning on buying much of her clothing there, since it's difficult to find culturally appropriate clothing here (or we don't know where to find it!). The Peace Corps (PC) strongly encourages volunteers to wear clothes that will help them fit in to their community. So while Kate is not Muslim, she will be wearing a khimar (head covering) at first. The first two months she will be living with a family while she takes intensive Arabic lessons. The town where she's staying is one of the more conservative areas of Jordan.

Here in the States, I know that some people are offended by others wearing clothing from other faith traditions. Kate does not mean to offend others, but she does have to "assimilate" as best she can, so she can do her job. We have read blogs of other PC volunteers in Jordan (here's one if you're curious), and not all of them dress this conservatively. It just depends on the town or village. Once Kate gets her assignment within the country (to be determined after language proficiency is completed), she will adapt to that areas culturally acceptable attire. Generally, she will need to cover every part of skin other than hands and face, plus a head covering. This will be a BIG change for my girl!

Here is a first peek of her future fashion!


Josette said...

Wow! I will be interested to hear more about what Kate will be doing. I saw that she will be teaching children with special needs. My oldest, Jordan, who is 15feels that she will probably work with people with special needs in some way when she is older. She doesn't know how yet, but both she and Evan (13) have a love for people with special needs and enjoy volunteering with Miracle League and Camp Smile.

Stephanie said...

As a covering Muslim woman, I think that Kate will find that she doesn't need to cover 100% esp. her hair, but I suppose it does depend on where in the country she is. Unfortunately, one of the purposes of covering the body is to avoid unwanted attention from men, but I've only heard horror stories about how some men in the middle east ogle and harass women, covered, uncovered, Muslim, and non-Muslim alike (which is 100% against religious teachings BTW). Anyway I'm sure your daughter is in for quite the culture shock! I'm excited to hear how she gets by over there, and especially the attitudes and knowledge about disabilites since I haven't had the best experiences from that particular culture regarding DS.

Tina said...

Kate is a remarkable woman. New cultures, especially one's that are so drastically different from one's own are sometimes hard to adjust to initially, it greatly depends on how open you are and how prepared your mind is to accepting other people's cultures that will help Kate in her new environment. I'm sure she will do great! All the best Kate

Crittle said...

I'm so excited for her!

When I was in the UAE, and even traveling through Bahrain, at about her age, I was *strongly encouraged* not to wear my regular clothes. I didn't have much to choose from, but I covered up as much as possible. It's the most respectful thing to do, I think. Better to have too much than too little.