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From the initial group in 1962 to the present, a total of more than 1,000 Volunteers have served in Guinea. The program today consists of approximately 100 Volunteers working in four projects: secondary education (math, physics, chemistry, and English); public health; natural resource management (agroforestry); and small enterprise development.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Guinea
Peace Corps signed a cooperation agreement with the government of Guinea in 1962, which forms the basis for our current country program. The first Volunteers arrived in Guinea in 1963. However, in 1966, relations between the United States government and the government of Guinea soured, and the Guinean government asked Volunteers to leave. Peace Corps was invited back in 1969, but again relations between the two governments deteriorated, and Volunteers left in 1971. Soon after President Sekou Touré’s death in 1984, Peace Corps was asked to return once again to Guinea.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Guinea
Before Volunteers arrive, Peace Corps/Guinea staff, in collaboration with local partners, identify safe and secure Volunteer housing. Volunteers have their own lodging, which varies depending on the region of the country, during service. Your housing might be a two-room house made from cement with a corrugated tin roof or a mud hut with a thatch roof. Volunteers are located anywhere from seven miles (12 km) to 62 miles (100 km) from the nearest Volunteer or regional capital.
Main article: Training in Guinea
The goal of pre-service training (PST) is to provide Volunteers the skills needed to be successful and solve most problems at their post on their own. You should be able to rely on Guinean counterparts, friends, and your community, rather than fellow Americans, as your primary support group. By the end of training, you will have the skills to integrate rapidly into your community and a clear understanding of your role as a Peace Corps Volunteer in your project and in the overall development of Guinea.
The PST program has four major components: language, technical, cross-cultural, and medical (which includes personal safety and security). In language training, you will learn French and local language skills, and explore ways to communicate across cultural barriers. From technical training sessions, you will acquire the skills needed to accomplish project objectives. Cross-cultural training sessions will help you adapt to Guinea’s culture. Medical sessions will teach you how to stay healthy and identify illnesses, and safety sessions will help you identify safety risks and prepare you to take responsibility for your own safety. The overall training program is designed to integrate as many of these components as possible into simultaneous training sessions.
Your Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Guinea
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps’ medical programs emphasize a preventive approach to disease. Peace Corps/ Guinea maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers who take care of Volunteers’ primary health concerns. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Guinea at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to medical facilities in a third country (usually South Africa, Senegal or England) or the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Guinea
In Guinea, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Guinea.
Outside of Guinea’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Guinea are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Guinea
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Guinea?
- What is the electric current in Guinea?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Guinean friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Guinea?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing List for Guinea
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Guinea and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that everyone has their own priorities. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can also have things sent to you later (although mail is unreliable, and postage from the U.S. to Guinea is expensive). As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that Peace Corps has an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Guinea.
In general, you should pack enough clothes to get you comfortably through the three months of pre-service training and use the rest of the space to pack the things that are most important to you. You can have clothes custom-made in Guinea at a very reasonable cost, and there are markets in Guinea with used clothing from other countries.
- General Clothing
- For Men
- For Women
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Packing It All
- A Few Notes
Peace Corps News
Contributions to the Guinea Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Guinea. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Guinea
- Friends of Guinea
- List of resources for Guinea
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports