Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Medical, More Paperwork

I’m just back from a week and a half in Chicago, where I attended a class and went through my storage space. It was a long time to be away and I feel I have a lot to do now. For example, I still have a paper to write for that class, plus my independent study – and I have Reunions at Princeton this weekend. So now I am grateful for that extra week!

I had already had a doctor appointment scheduled, so it was easy to get the form saying that I was physically fit signed, and my doctor also filled out the optional form saying that the minor things I noted when I left Morocco (just in case they became major things, I wanted them documented) weren’t problems (I didn’t even remember what I had said until the Peace Corps screening nurse reminded me!). I also needed the doctor’s appointment in order to get a prescription for the shots I needed; I’d made an appointment at Northwestern’s travel clinic for the same day. I also got new tests – EKG and occult blood for reaching the Peace Corps “magic age,” and G6PD, testing whether I can tolerate antimalarial drugs.

Northwestern’s travel clinic is great – if you’re in Chicago and doing any travel for which shots may be required, I recommend it. I needed typhoid (had the shot in Morocco but it expired), rabies (ditto – apparently there are a lot of monkey bites in the Philippines) and Japanese encephalitis (new; in Southeast Asia but not in Morocco). The last two are series – so I went back the next week for two more shots, and I need one more shot each in June (from a travel clinic in New York). I’ll be reimbursed, which is good – the five shots I’ve had so far cost $896! The nurse there had printed out a bunch of travel updates on not only the Philippines but also many nearby countries just in case (though she missed Laos, to which I’d like to return, and included Iraq, which is not in the area – well, they both have four letters). These were from, a great web site (but it doesn’t seem open to the public). It talks about not only disease but crime and other risks – and might just be enough to scare away the faint of heart! You can find the disease info on, but travax seems nicely organized.

Towards the end of my time in Chicago the Peace Corps nurse called me and said the new dental assistant there insisted I needed bitewings – not customary for Peace Corps Response, with its streamlined medical screening, but nothing she could do about it. I had already seen the dentist (on my own; they’d told me no new dental was required) but was able to get an additional appointment to get the X-rays. I guess all of my dental records are also in the mail on the way to me; when I get them I think all I have to do is return them to Peace Corps.

And when I got back to Southampton, there was a visa application for the Philippines to be filled out in duplicate, notarized, and FedExed back. I’m about to go into town to take care of that now (despite the rain). And I got a shipping notice from – Lonely Planet Philippines, ordered on April 27, is about to ship!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


When I was leaving for Morocco, I checked the Princeton on-line alumni directory and found five other alumni in Morocco – I emailed all of them but never met any (despite Jeff giving me a “Princeton Club of Morocco” banner as a parting gift!). I exchanged texts with a Fulbright fellow in Fes (nice alliteration) who was an advisee of the faculty member accompanying the Princeton group to whom I spoke, but never met her either. I also started Princeton-africa and Princeton-Peace Corps discussion groups, both of which have been very quiet.

The alumni directory lists 27 Princetonians in the Philippines, most of whom are in Metro Manila. Maybe I will get in touch. There’s a Princeton Club of Southeast Asia, but not one in the Philippines per se (most of the officers are in Bangkok). There is Princeton-in-Asia though – a hundred-year-old organization that provides fellowships to young alumni to teach, do relief work or otherwise serve throughout Asia; I have some friends who did it after graduation. I figured I would check it out at some point to see if it had a presence in the Philippines and before I had the chance, I got an introduction! The GAD chair in Morocco, a Yale alumna, has a good friend who just finished a P-i-A year with Save the Children there – she introduced me electronically to her fellow fellows (they will be leaving as I am arriving, but maybe I will meet the next set) and gave me a bunch of suggestions and links. Check out to see what the fellows there are doing – it sounds amazing. I couldn’t have done this right after I graduated – I am glad to be doing what I am doing now!

I also have some Peace Corps connections – the Country Director in Morocco passed my name along to the Country Director there (not that she won’t get it soon enough if she doesn’t have it already) and the Programming and Training Officer in Thailand put in a good word for me with the PTO there. The director of Junior Achievement Asia/Pacific, an RPCV who I met in California, may get to Manila while I am there as well. One of the six-pack in Morocco is the daughter of two RPCVs from the Philippines. And the COO of my brother-in-law’s firm, who I met in New York recently, has a sister who served in the Peace Corps there.

Who else might I see? Martha and Susan might be going to a wedding in Thailand in July – it would be fun to see them while they are in the neighborhood, but they won’t be able to swing it. A couple of the current Morocco PCVs might visit after they COS in November (and/or I could travel with them after I COS if they are in the neighborhood). Another friend mentioned the possibility of having business there. My sister said that if it’s amazing she’d consider taking the my nieces out of school and coming – but I don’t know if I’ll know if it’s amazing in time for her to make plans. I think the six months will go by quickly (even if I add on extra travel at the end, I still think it will go quickly) but it is still nice to think about all of these connections!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Philippines Planning

Lonely Planet Philippines is still on the way. A new edition, just published, which will be nice – just after I got to Morocco they published a new edition of Lonely Planet Morocco, and I had my sister send it to me. Publication date said May 1, but it’s delayed – I just hope it arrives before I leave! In the meantime, I’m getting a lot of use out of the Rough Guide to Southeast Asia. It’s an old edition, but it’s already come in handy – it had good Thailand and Indonesia overviews to help me plan those trips, and it was the sole book I used for the unanticipated trips to Laos and Cambodia.

Some of the highlights of the Philippines, per the Rough Guide (I hope I get a chance to see some! A letter from a volunteer in the Welcome Book mentions one weekend a month out-of-site - wonder if that is still the policy):
- Manila nightlife (well, I’m not really a nightlife person)
- Puerto Galera – jungle-clad hinterlands for trekking (or scuba diving, again not for me)
- The Cordilleras – mountain villages with upland tribes (might require warm clothes!)
- Banaue – rice terraces and trekking
- Boracay – first stop for sun worshippers, famous White Beach (this sounds like a must)

Highlights of Manila (I sense I will be writing about these after visiting them!):
- Intramuros, the old Spanish capital (cathedral, church, museums, fort)
- Rizal Park (memorial, museums, planetarium, orchidarium)
- Makati (park, museum, library, American cemetery and memorial)
- Manila Bay (a sight in itself, museum)
- Ermita and Malate (neighborhoods)
- Chinatown (church, stores, cemetery)
- Malacanang Palace (the shoes are gone but the part open to the public is a museum)
- Corregidor (a WWII entry is probably called for!)

And I found notes on the handicrafts! Jewelry, ethnic carvings, household décor, basketware, fabric, capiz-shell items, buri bags (I had to google those last two. Maybe they will grow on me), embroidery. Haggling is in order.

Now that I think about it, I wish there were a letter from a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in the Welcome Book. Maybe as I leave I will write one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Metro Manila

Here’s some information from Wikipedia:
Metro Manila consists of 17 cities and municipalities, total population over 11 million. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces, total population is over 20 million. In 2005 it was ranked as the 42nd-richest urban agglomeration in the world. The city lies on a wide flood plain between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay. The polluted Pasig River bisects the isthmus. Metro Manila is located at 14°40' N 121°3 E. Metro Manila is a place of economic extremes. It is stated that 97% of the total GDP in the Philippines is controlled by 15% of the population, the majority of which is in the Metro Manila area. Metro Manila is notorious for its traffic jams. A trip that should take 20 minutes will last an hour or more especially during rush hour. Attractions include the National Museum of the Filipino People (mummies, relics and art), Fort Santiago (Spanish military fortress), a Botanical Garden and Zoo, cathedrals and churches, parks, walks and restaurants.

Taguig City, population 613,343, where the office where I’ll be working and living is located: From a thriving fishing community along the shores of Laguna de Bay, it is now an important residential, commercial and industrial center. The city is ranked first among Philippine cities in the Ease of Doing Business Index, conducted by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. There is evidence of early Chinese settlements; it was one of the first territories to be Christianized.

Makati City, population 510,383, where the headquarters of Habitat for Humanity Philippines is located (it is just to the northwest of Taguig City): It is the major financial, commercial and economic hub in the Philippines, often referred to as the Financial Capital or the Wall Street of the Philippines. It is noted for its cosmopolitan culture and entertainment; many expats live and work there. It is also home to many first-class shopping malls and five-star hotels, and it has the tallest buildings in the Philippines. It is one of the most modern cities in the country, yet has challenges due to the gap between the new city in the west, where the Central Business District is located, and the old city in the east, which is poor and is where most of the city’s slums are located.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More on the Philippines - The People

Again, from the Welcome Book and the Rough Guide – I"ll have books to read for my Non-Profit Management classes next, so Culture Shock are in the queue, and the hot-off-the-press edition of Lonely Planet Philippines is still on the way. And of course as I have my own experience I’ll share my observations!

Filipinos are optimistic, gracious, warm, passionate, gregarious and chatty. I should be prepared for all manner of conversation, including quite personal questions. Hospitality is big. Social events are an important part of Philippine life, and get-togethers happen on a moment’s notice. Every community has an annual fiesta. Music is a big part of the culture, as are movies, both from Hollywood and locally-made. Basketball is big, as is cockfighting. For tourists, trekking and scuba-diving are popular.

Despite a considerable level of Western influence, Philippine culture is quite conservative and there is a strong sense of propriety; modest dress is advised. Punctuality is not common – for Filipinos, there is always time. Filipino kinship customs also means that they help themselves to their family members’ personal possessions – sharing is common and not doing so is considered stingy (I don’t know how this translates to the office building where I’ll be living, but if I don’t have a lock for my room, at least I do for my luggage).

There is a culture of volunteerism (so far everything has been similar to Morocco – questions, time, sharing - but not this); many Filipinos do volunteer work in their communities and many have had connection with development projects. Also, unlike in Morocco, there is social pressure to drink alcohol.

The country is about 80 percent Roman Catholic, 10 percent other Christian, and eight percent Muslim; it and East Timor are the only countries in Asia with a predominantly Christian population. Tagalog has a simple word structure, though the word order is different from English – an example translates to “ate a mango the child.” There’s also no verb “to be.” Tagalog sounds staccato to the foreign ear, with clipped vowels and consonants. There are no tones, unlike some other Southeast Asian languages, and most words are spoken as they are written, though stress can be tricky. I’ll be working in English but I think I’d like to try to learn some of the language. That’s part of the experience, after all.

I wonder what crafts and artisan products the Philippines are known for? Of course, I may have a home’s worth of Moroccan décor, with some Southeast Asian touches already. I certainly don’t need any more rugs….

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ready to be Ready

I contacted my Peace Corps Response recruiter today to make sure that I could schedule the Foreign Service Officer Test for early June and she said that my departure date has now been confirmed by post as June 22. My immediate reaction was disappointment – I am ready to get ready! When I had the interview, the expected departure date was June 7. That was fine; as long as I was able to keep my planned trip to Chicago to go through storage, two years in the making, and my annual trip to Princeton for Reunions, I was good to go, though I felt a little pressed for time. When I got the invitation letter a week later, the departure date was June 14; my reaction then was relief – glad to have a little more time after those trips. Ultimately I think I will also be happy to have this additional extra time – I can work on finishing up my Strategies in Non-Profit Management Certificate, I can continue writing up my post-Morocco trip, I can see some more of the East End of Long Island and/or enjoy more of the warmer weather here in Southampton, I can see friends, I can – relax? But it was that kind of day – scheduling the test required some back and forth, hoped-for packages and mail for did not arrive. I realize these are minor problems compared to the stressful life of many readers out there, but it just felt like there was a disturbance in the Force today. I’ve gone from six weeks from when I started the blog to six weeks from today! Then again, I already knew patience and flexibility were important in the Peace Corps. They have a great booklet, “A Few Minor Adjustments.” I can adjust!

Anyway, the good news is that my independent study (on the use of social media by/for non-profits) and my class (not cancelled, as the March and April ones were; this one is on marketing for non-profits) will segue nicely into my assignment. While looking for information for the class, I found that Habitat for Humanity’s main web site has a nice description of its projects in the Philippines:

And since I am ready to be ready, here is the description I received about my first month or so there:

Peace Corps Philippines will provide an orientation upon arrival which will include project specific information, culture and language introduction, safety and security, Emergency Action Plan, medical, administrative policies and procedures, vacation and time off, reporting requirements, introduction to PC staff and swearing-in.

A four-week immersion on HFHP operations, including the resource development process shall likewise be arranged for the designated PCRV. The PCRV shall be provided an orientation by HFHP both at the national and community levels. Session topics will include: Habitat International profile, HFHP’s vision, mission, and mission principles, HFHP organization, overview of HFHP programs and projects, volunteer guidelines and ethics, administrative policies/procedures, staff introduction, culture of the receiving country, among others.

See – adjusting already!

More on the Philippines - The Food

I am not sure I have ever had Filipino food – but I did look up some restaurants in both Chicago and New York and I plan to try some before I go. Again, from the Welcome Book and the Rough Guide: Rice is the staple food for Filipinos in the lowlands, while corn, potatoes and tubers are staples at higher altitudes. Fish, pork, chicken, bread, noodles, vegetables, bananas and other fruits are widely available. Food is often cooked in lard or coconut oil. Many Filipinos prefer rice, fish, meat and sweets to vegetables and fruits. It can be hard to maintain a vegetarian diet (I was thinking of trying to do this in order to avoid things I don’t eat or don’t want to eat, until I saw this in the Welcome Book).

The Rough Guide mentions willingness to try balut, an allegedly aphrodisiac duck embryo, or bagoong, a smelly, salty fish paste, as a way to get instant admiration. Three meals a day is not common – there are also merienda, or snacks, eaten between meals. Not to partake when offered can be considered rude. In general, the cuisine is a mixture of the familiar and the exotic. Coconut, soy sauce, vinegar and patis (a brown fish sauce, more watery than bagoong) are widely used to add flavor. Influences include Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and, more recently, American – sometimes all combined in one meal. The national dish is adobo, which is chicken or pork cooked in soy sauce and vinegar with pepper and garlic. Pig is the base of many coveted dishes, including pig’s knuckles, suckling pig and roasted pig stuffed with pandan leaves, and pork ribs soaked in coconut milk. Common beverages include iced tea and fresh coconut juice, and there is also local beer, rice wine, rum, gin, and a spirit made from fermented coconut sap.

There are quite a few things on the above list that I wouldn’t choose to eat. But for now I shall keep an open mind. I wonder how late they eat? The evening meal in Morocco was too late for me.

There are also noodles and egg roll dishes, street food such as fried sweet potato, cheese rolls, fish balls, and taho, a mushy confection of mashed bean curd, caramel and tapioca that is a common breakfast-on-the-go. Fruits include custard apple, starfruit, coconut, lime, soursop, star apple, jackfruit, lanzones, mango, watermelon, papaya and pineapple. Desserts are made from rice, coconut, caramel, and bananas. Permission to eat more chocolate now, while it’s available? The fruit seems promising…again, I’m keeping an open mind….

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Practical Matters

Almost all of this is from the Peace Corps Philippines Welcome Book.... When I get a mailing address I’ll send it along; PCVs regularly use the Philippine postal system without problems to send mail to friends and family in the United States. That’s good to know! Cell phone use is common – I wonder if I can use my Morocco phone with a new sim card. Direct-dial calls from the U.S. to the Philippines are much less expensive than calls from the Philippines to the U.S. The country code for the Philippines is 63, and then there’s a city code and a seven-digit number. Then again, I’ve now become a fan of skype, though I didn’t use it much in Morocco. Maybe I can use it more here, with a time difference of 12 or 13 hours to the East Coast (and no daylight savings time). The electricity is 220 V – I hear that my U.S. two-prong plugs will work but I will definitely need to buy a surge protector when I get there!

The Welcome Book cautions that laptops are subject to humidity, fluctuating current and the risk of theft. I think the Morocco Welcome Book mentioned dust and heat. So far this laptop is holding out, but I’m ever mindful to back it up!

Transportation in cities consists of buses, minibuses, “jeepneys” (colorfully decorated converted WWII jeeps), vans, motorized tricycles and pedicabs. Transportation among islands consists of airplanes, ferries or small motorboats. As in any Peace Corps country, I must take public transportation and cannot drive a car or ride on a motorcycle.

Malaria, amebic dysentery and other gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory and skin infections (including fungal infections, heat rash and heat exhaustion) are common problems. In addition, there are occasional outbreaks of dengue fever and typhoid fever. I have some immunizations to get before I leave and I am guessing I that medical will be part of my Peace Corps orientation when I get there – I wonder how much of this is only rural. I looked at the contents of the medical kit listed in the Welcome Book and it looks like the exact same stuff I had in Morocco. Except there’s Imodium in this one as opposed to Pepto-Bismol there.

There is harassment/unwanted attention – it will be interesting to see how much this is a topic for the PCVs, after all the focus it got in Morocco. Possible issues for female volunteers include finding the Filipino society chauvinistic, having Filipinos assume American women are promiscuous, having them not understand why single women are away from their family, and encouragement to get married (all of that – been there). We are encouraged to dress conservatively (may as well wear the same long skirts! Maybe get one more, since I jettisoned one in Rabat).

I will get the same living allowance and readjustment allowance as the regular PCVs (pro-rated to six months, that is. Hm, that’s also another story for another blog…). I’ll suspend my Corps Care (Peace Corps equivalent of COBRA) and be covered while I am gone and then sign back up for Corps Care when I get back. My non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs, good for a year after service, will still end after a year, but if there’s a position for which it might make a difference, Peace Corps will write a letter explaining the situation. I’ll get a round-trip ticket – no opportunity for cash-in-lieu of a return ticket, as I had in Morocco, but I can change the return with no penalties since it’s a full-fare government ticket.

I’ll save the Welcome Book packing list recommendations for when I get closer to doing my own packing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More on the Philippines - History and Geography

I’ll confess – I didn’t and still don’t know much about the Philippines. It wasn’t until I looked at my Rough Guide Southeast Asia book that I realized the Philippines were in Southeast Asia – I thought they were off somewhere on their own in the Pacific. I was very close when I was in Indonesia. I’ll also confess – the Philippines hasn’t been on my list of places to go. I knew it has stunning, under-visited beaches and I knew it had the Bataan Death March and other WWII history and I know about Marcos and People Power and Corazon Aquino, and I feel I’ve always known or worked with someone who was Filipino – but that’s about it. Now that I’m going I am excited about it, and of course I am starting to learn more.

Lonely Planet Philippines and Culture Shock Philippines are on the way, along with a Tagalog phrase book (there are about 85 languages spoken there, but Tagalog is one of the official ones - my high school Spanish may come in handy as well) and a travel map, but in the meantime, some information from the Peace Corps Welcome Book and from the Rough Guide is in order.

The first people, the Negritos, are believed to have come from Borneo and Sumatra, and their descendants, the Malays, were the dominant group until the Spanish arrived in the 16th Century. Chinese merchants and traders came in the 9th Century and Arabs in the 14th; these are also important influences. Magellan claimed the islands for Spain, naming them after King Philip (he – Magellan, that is – was killed in a skirmish days later). The islands remained under Spanish rule for 377 years; in 1898, the islands were ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War. Japan occupied the islands during WWII; they became independent from the United States on July 4, 1946 (so maybe they celebrate July 4 as Independence Day? I guess I will be there to find out!). There’s currently a constitutional government, with a president who serves a six-year term and a bicameral Congress composed of 24 senators and 250 representatives, 16 administrative regions divided into 81 provinces, provinces administered by governors, municipalities administered by mayors, and village communities called barangays, after the Malay term for the boats that carried settlers to the islands.

There are 7100 islands, around 2000 of which are inhabited. Only about 500 are larger than half a square mile, and 2500 do not even have names. The archipelago stretches 1100 miles north to south and includes mountain ranges and inland and coastal plains. The country has a tropical marine climate. Lowland areas (where I think I will be) are warm and humid throughout the year, with average mean temperature 80 degrees (27, that is – I should get re-used to Celsius). The Philippines lies within the typhoon belt and has an average of 15 typhoons (known as hurricanes in the U.S.) every year between July and October. The wet season is May through October; August is the wettest month. December or January is usually the coolest month and May the hottest. There are 37 volcanoes, of which 18 are active, and there are also destructive earthquakes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Forms, forms, forms

The invitation packet that I received last Monday included not only a link to the Welcome Book but also a letter, a book and forms. Perhaps most important was that the invitation says I'm scheduled to depart on or around June 14 - a big difference from June 7! Enclosed was a Volunteer Handbook (printed, not a link - again, I think there's a lot that won't apply, but it'll be interesting refresher reading) and a bunch of forms - passport application (my Peace Corps passport is still valid but because of Philippine visa requirements I need a new one), legal update, registration form, life insurance form, banking form for electronic funds transfer, privacy act waiver, hometowner questionnaire (I listed myself as living in Southampton - maybe I'll get in the local paper?), authorization to use any photos or writings for promotional purposes, information on personal property overseas insurance (I had just cancelled mine), and core expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers (I look at those in a new light after my Human Capital Management course, in which core values and competencies were discussed as something that with-it organizations have). You can find these at - I think that’s better than my typing them all up here. Another good refresher.

The medical packet that I received last Tuesday contained a list of what I need to do to get cleared – get additional tests (EKG, G6PD (never heard of it, but wikipedia indicates that people with this deficiency can have problems with antimalarial medications), occult blood) and updated immunizations (typhoid, rabies, Japanese encephalitis), fax in my the results of my recent doctors’ appointments, sign a HIPAA form, get my doctor to sign a form saying that I am physically fit and can endure hardships. No new dental needed, though I happen to have a cleaning already scheduled for next week. When I faxed in the results of my recent eye exam, they called needing more specifics. I had been diagnosed with secondary cataracts back in Rabat and given a form to have them checked out at Peace Corps expense within six months of returning (I wonder if I will really get reimbursed, but that’s neither here nor there right now). I was sent a new form for the doctor to fill out; I brought it to the doctor’s office last week and they faxed in the notes from the visit. On Friday, Peace Corps called for still more information – basically, a statement that I can go without another exam or any treatment while I am away. Everything should be all right now, but the thought of that holding up my clearance did scare me a bit. It was my cataracts that made me medically restricted before – even though per their list, what restricts you is unoperated cataracts and mine had been operated on. I finally decided back then that if I was restricted to a country with superior medical care, why fight it. The Philippines is one of the countries to which they evacuate PCVs from other countries who need medical attention, but I think the best thing to do is stay healthy, both here and there.

P.S. On May 6, we received a new form via email, to be emailed back ASAP - a swine flu intake form.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More on Peace Corps Philippines

Each country prepares a Welcome Book that is sent to invitees; as part of the Peace Corps Response invitation I received a link to the Philippines book. The Morocco Welcome Book was on-line too – I applaud the effort to go paperless but I remember surprising people in my stage who didn’t realize there was a Welcome Book (Rose, in particular – that is one of the ways we first bonded). It had a lot of good background; for example, I don’t know what I would have done without the packing list! I was also told that since the book is for the two-year volunteers, a lot doesn’t apply to me this time – am I going to feel like a stepchild? Last post I included that link to the RPCV Philippines group – will I be welcome there? This week I joined Connected Peace Corps, a social media web site for PCVs and RPCVs – there didn’t seem to be a place for PRCVs there. I think I will ask about that (I interviewed with the National Peace Corps Association to be in charge of that effort, but that’s another story for another blog). So – information from the Welcome Book follows.

The first group of PCVs arrived in the Philippines in October 1961; it is the second-oldest Peace Corps program in the world. The first assignments were in classrooms, teaching language, mathematics and science. Today there are about 130 volunteers, in education, youth services and environment. They train primary, secondary and tertiary teachers, support organizations working with children, youth and families at risk, assist in management of coastal resources, water systems and waste management, provide livelihood assistance, and promote biodiversity conservation. Since 1961, more than 8000 PCVs have served in the Philippines; it is the country in which the largest number of Volunteers has served. Because of this, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to have encountered Peace Corps; they have a favorable impression of Americans in general and Peace Corps Volunteers in particular. The program was suspended in June 1990 for security reasons (again, I feel lucky to have been in a country that wasn’t evacuated while I was there) and it resumed in 1992. I should also mention that a PCV hiking alone was murdered in 2007; I remember hearing about it and thinking how far away the Philippines were…. I should also mention that in general, the Philippines is thought of as one of the safer Peace Corps countries. And that another volunteer was recently found dead, in Benin. It happens - but thankfully, not often.