Over the past couple of months, a number of you have asked me if there were any material ways you could be supporting me and the work that I’ve been doing here in Liberia. I’ve been hesitant to suggest anything, because I knew Peace Corps has rules regarding that sort of thing, and I’ve wanted to stay well within the lines here.
After talking to the office, it seems like the main rules are that you can’t directly send me money, or send gifts to my community through me. Basically, anything that makes me appear like a “resource getter” is either not allowed or discouraged.
This fits completely with my philosophy for working with my community: I’m not here to dump *things* on them — I’m here to facilitate the process of figuring out how to effectively use the resources they already have while taking advantage of the opportunities that are already available to them. I’m here to be a “teammate” and “partner”, not a “resource getter”.
And it’s not like I don’t have access to money. There are various Peace Corps grants my community and I can apply for as we start doing projects together.
That said, if you really want to send me things, here’s some things you could send that would be extremely appreciated:
1) Children’s books
Right now there is virtually no reading material for children in my community. Perhaps my community will be interested in building a library for my school as a project sometime in the future, but right now I just want to start collecting books of my own that I can start reading on my own time with children and families. Any material in the K-9 range will be put to good use! Contact me if you want to know the best ways of sending these things.
2) Electronic equipment
As I’ve mentioned in past posts, my environment is death to electronics. If you want to help me in this area by donating a smart phone or getting me some extra memory cards or backup hard drive, that would be awesome. And even if I don’t need those things myself at the moment, I can get it to a Peace Corps Volunteer who does.
But do NOT send electronics like this through the mail! Expensive stuff can often go missing in transit. Instead, it’s best for a Peace Corps Volunteer visiting the states to bring it into the country. Contact me if you have something and we can work it out.
3) Phone minutes
It costs $0.05/min to call the States from Liberia, but closer to $0.30 to call Liberia from the states. So I like to pay for all my conversations with friends and family because I don’t like them getting ripped off. But lately it’s been draining a lot of money from my pocket. If you want to get some minutes for me, contact me and I’ll show you how! We could even talk on the phone after using those minutes you just got for me!
June is approaching, and I’m going to be needing to renew my property insurance at the end of that month. If that’s something you’re interested in sponsoring, let me know!
6) Fun stuff
Finally, you can always feel free to send me a package with random stuff! Or letters and postcards! Anything you send should be addressed to:
Kyle Husmann, Peace Corps Volunteer
Post Office Box 707
Use USPS (flat-rate is usually the best) to ship your package. Do NOT use a private carrier like fedex, because it will mess things up. And anything edible needs to be well protected from rats and mice! If you have any questions about package rates or how to fill out customs forms, feel free to contact me!
Thank you all for your love and support!