You’re speaking another language, and it’s not Bislama

After being immersed in the PC (sorry, Peace Corps) world for over 2 months now, I realize that I may be using some jargon with which you are unfamiliar.

There are some abbreviations or even basic vocabulary you may not understand as someone who has never trained in the Peace Corps, so here’s a list that I’ve created with some explanations that will help you understand what the heck I’m talking about. This page will be updated as I think of more of them.

  • Category/Cat (1, 2, 3 or 4) Site – This is the level of remoteness for a site. It doesn’t indicate your access to amenities, since a category 4 technically could have running water (although that's rare). However, 4 is most remote (least access to “goods and services” and category 1 is least remote. Category 1 means living in or near a major city, such as Vila or Luganville. Category 4 is someone who could be in a remote village of 75 people, and has to walk two miles to the nearest road.
  • Generation/Gen (1, 2 or 3) – Each site in which PC places a volunteer has a six-year plan. The first volunteer at that site (generation 1) is there to discover the needs of the site and implement a plan. Generation 2 will continue that plan, and generation 3 will ensure the plan is sustainable and can be continued once PC pulls out of the site and PC discontinues service there.
  • G28 or G29/Group 28 or Group 29 – This refers to the group of volunteers who arrive. The new “class of students” if you will. I’m group 29, which is the group (both health and education) that arrived in Vanuatu in April 2017 for training. Group 28 is who we’ve met here already, as they are still serving until 2018. The next group of trainees to arrive in 2018 who will replace group 28 is, of course, group 30.
  • Kakae – the Bislama word for “food” and “to eat”
  • Kava – a (perfectly acceptable and widely drank) local “drug” of choice over alcohol that can make you feel high and drunk at the same time
  • PC – Peace Corps
  • PCV – Peace Corps Volunteer
  • PCVL – Peace Corps Volunteer Liason, aka a previously serving volunteer who is with us throughout training and our first year on site to answer questions and be a big sibling throughout the entire process.
  • Reconnect – A checkpoint after the first three months when we get to reunite with our group.
  • Site – the place where I will be for the two years of my service, aka my permanent residence/workplace after training is completed.
  • Staging – a 2-day period that took place in LA before training.
  • Swear-In – The ceremony at the end of training in which we are no longer trainees and now officially volunteers.
  • Trainee – a to-be PCV, who has not yet been sworn in
  • Training – a 2-month process where we learn Bislama, the local culture, how to do our jobs (health trainees have sessions on basic health, we have sessions on how to co-teach in schools), safety and security sessions, medical sessions, etc.
  • Training Village – a regular village (I say “regular” because when I first heard the term “training village” I thought that it was some mock village staged just for us) where we are placed into homes of local families and carry out our training sessions.
  • Vila – Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu.
  • Walkabout/Wokabaot (week) – A week that took place about halfway through our training, in which we were each shipped off to our actual sites for a week. We got to see if our site was ready, meet our host families for the first time, and just generally get a taste of what we were getting ourselves into before we completed training.


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