I got a message from the Peace Corps office today, making this adventure all the more real. In addition to training information, there’s a section they wrote up especially for you. Here’s the gist of it:
The mail service in Ethiopia is not as efficient as the U.S. Postal Service. It can take 3-4 weeks for letters from Ethiopia to get to the States. And if I’m assigned to a small faraway village, it could take 1-2 months to reach you. If you date your letters to me (and number them) I can let you know how long it takes for me to get them.
These are not guaranteed to reach me, but current volunteers have said they haven’t had a problem. Don’t send anything too expensive. Electronics have extremely high custom taxes, so please don’t send any. Padded envelopes are often taxed less than boxes, if you can opt for those. Care packages will probably be a little piece of heaven, so thanks ahead of time. Here’s the address again:
Katie Olean, PCV
U.S. Peace Corps
P.O. Box 7788
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Also they said cash and checks are not recommended through the mail. (bummer.) If you send a postcard, please put it in an envelope. If you don’t, some postal worker will likely have a new picture for their wall.
To get some actual voice conversations, it’s possible to call my cell phone (number to come). However, there’s a part about how difficult it is to get through and you may need to call 5-10 times in a row, even if it says I’m “out of the service area.” There’s always Skype… although I haven’t given it a practice run yet. And who knows how internet will be.
The Fun Stuff
Then there was a little section on my possible “war stories,” by which they mean illness , lack of good food, isolation, etc. They assure you it’s never as bad as it sounds, and we have a doctor and physician’s assistant on staff in Addis Ababa. If it’s really bad, we’ll be medically evacuated to Kenya, South Africa or the United States. (Let’s not hope for that.)
So that’s about it. I love you all forever for reading this and sending me letters when I get there. I promise, I’ll write you all back. Two weeks to go!