Friday, July 14, 2006

Packing for the East Coast

After a year and a half of application processing to secure a volunteer position, first with the Peace Corps and now with BVS (Brethren Volunteer Service), I have finally been accepted and will begin serving a two year commitment overseas OR in the states, 'til a position overseas opens up.

I was initially scheduled to serve in the Pacific Region with the Peace Corps last year, having met all the qualifications and given a departure date. Then, one month before I was to leave, the Corps' Medical Staff deferred me—see my post Peace Corps-ee escapes East Timor—due to a herniated disc. The Medical Staff gave me a good recommendation and a list of referrals to similar organizations that might be less medically strict.

BVS was my first choice, comparable to the Peace Corps and willing to work with me concerning the above health issue. They are a privately funded, faith based, non-profit that welcomes anyone to serve with them, regardless of beliefs. It's kind of a clearing house for all types of NGO volunteer efforts around the globe and they provide the pre-assignment training. They also seem to be pretty cool people from my phone conversations with their director and staff.

Beginning July 30 I'll be in New Windsor, MD for three weeks of training with BVS, along with 21 other volunteers from the U.S. and Europe, and then receive an assignment to a non-profit organization (not affiliated with BVS) that will become my permanent address. The training will be intense and challenging and most of the volunteers will be in their early 20s. Coming from eleven states and Germany, representing eight faiths including two "none," these nine men and sixteen women will leave behind a multitude of professions from computer consultant to arts and crafts director.

Over the next two years I'll be reporting on my "Journey with the Brethren" from this Blog (Stan's Blogs) to journal my experiences and to give insight into the organization. If news events occur on my watch, some of the projects are quite controversial, you'll get the exclusive right here on Stan's Blogs.