Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ryan's First Post & the Beginning of her Peace Corps Adventure

Hello! This is my first official blog entry. I am new to blogging and I thank my sister, Kayte, for allowing me to share her space. My entries will be focused around my Peace Corps experience. I am leaving in October to spend 27 months in Kenya. I welcome advice, tips, letters, and care packages. Right now I am in the packing stage and I need all the help I can get. Anyone know anything about solar chargers? Or have a small backpacking tent they want to give away?

The first thing I want to post here is my application timeline. It was incredibly helpful to me during the process to see what everyone else was going through. I hope mine can help someone through that taxing period when we are told to be 'patient'.

April 8, 2010 @ 11:30pm: Submitted my online application and Heath Status Review

April 12: Received intro packet in the mail asking for supplemental info

April 13: Spent all day working on it, got fingerprinted, worked on skill addendums (they sent me six!)

April 16: Received an email from my recruiter. She told me I have three weeks to send the packet back and then we will set up an interview. Must finish soon!

April 19: Sent back supplemental packet.

April 23: Got a call for an interview!! Yay!

4/28: Interview today in Boston. She was very nice, the interview was very nerve wracking. I was well prepared, had answers for everything, but one question. I couldn’t think of a ‘rule that I disagreed with’. I was disappointed, but the rest of the interview went well. My interviewer asked me where I wanted to go and when I was ready to leave. I said, Africa and NOW. So she looked up all positions available in Africa and the last assignment leaving before next spring was going in August. I accepted and she nominated me for a science teaching position. I got the last spot!! I am officially in!! Now I have to wait for the medical packet. Whew!

5/4: Today I got back from a short vacation in FL and still haven’t received the medical packet. My online Toolkit says it was sent on 4/30. I made my doctors appt anyway.

6/3: Finished all my doctor appointments. The last thing on my list is to read my TB test 8am tomorrow. I needed a Polio vaccine which took forever to track down. I was never required to get it while growing up, but the Peace Corps assumed I would have. Through a stroke of luck, I got it when I went to get my TB test read. Plan: send packet tomorrow AM.

6/4: Sent packet, should get there Monday

6/7: Notification that they received the info

6/8: Dentally cleared!

7/1: I have heard nothing yet. It feels much longer than a month. I am trying to be patient.

7/19: Got an email at 4 am notifying me that my Toolkit has been updated.

7/20: Under “Medical” it says “we have reached a decision regarding your medical
 clearance”. From what I can gather from the internet, this most likely means I am medically cleared.

7/21: Official email saying I am medically cleared and my file is now being processed in the Assessment and Placement Office.

7/21: Official letter in the mail saying the same thing.

8/4: Received email asking me to rewrite my cross cultural essay.

8/12: Received email saying the preliminary review of my file is complete. Now I have to answer some questions on what I have been doing to prepare and how I am feeling about service now. I also need a resume tailored to my nomination assignment.

8/15: Sent email with all the questions, and found out that my placement officer is on vacation till the 23rd.

8/24: Email from my recruiter, my invitation is in the mail!!!

8/26: Received invitation! I am going to Kenya on October 11th. Wow! Now the real work begins. 

Number of Days: ___________________Actual_____Average
Application to Nomination______________20_________62
Nomination to Kit Received by OMS________40_________87
Kit Received to Medical Qualification_______43_________54
Medical Qualification to Invitation_________35_________38
Invitation to Acceptance________________3___________9
Acceptance to Enter on Duty_____________46_________85

Above chart based on the numbers on

Thanks for reading!


Katharine Keith said...

LOVE IT!! you're a blogging pro!

Behtash Azar said...

Very nice Ryan! Welcome to your new blogging career, moving to Kenya sounds like an amazing experience, can you teach me Kenyan sign language ;)

Ryan Keith said...

Thanks guys! I hope I'll learn KSL well enough to use it, let alone teach someone else. But if I get that good, I'll teach you and you teach me Persian. :)

Anonymous said...

I was apeace corps volunteer in Mondova in 2001. I used a solar charger for my lap top and extra batteries, my how they have changed! So much easier, light weight, compact, more expensive! But it was a life saver when working on my thesis stuff to always be able to charger my lap top when the electricity was gone.

Best of luck in Kenya!

Megan said...

This might be kind of strange, but I found your blog via and I wanted to leave a comment because I'm also leaving for Kenya in October to be a science teacher. I'm also in the process of trying to get everything together (however I only found out my departure date yesterday so I'm way behind...). It's daunting. I'm definitely going to forget something important.