Acronyms & Useful Terms

In most people’s jobs you have interesting jargon that you use to make your life, communication and writing simpler, although you and your co-horts might be the only ones that understand this diverse and interesting code language for the everyday things that you do. Peace Corps is no different.

We are not the only ones trying to be organized but maybe more confusing than helpful. Inside of a french administration office for a primary school.

During this first week of training I felt I was back at my corporate jobs learning the in’s and out’s of a major organization, which I was. Peace Corps is an international organization in more than countries, with more than 200,000 volunteers that have gone through their program in the 50 years they have been in capacity through the federal government. Trust me they know what they are doing.

A few acronyms that I will be using from here on out:
PCV – Peace Corps Volunteer
PCT – Peace Corps Trainee (This was my title as I’m learning, training and working before being swore in as a volunteer)
PST – Pre-Service Training (During this volunteers learn various language and technical training hours)
IST – In-Service Training (Training during my service and will be pertinent to my permanent site with a host family and where my work will be done)
CBT – Community Based Training (Where we live with a host family during training, where we can make cultural mistakes since most of the families have hosted volunteers before and we have an LCF, Language and Cultural Facilitator, living in the same village to ask questions of)
CD – Country Director (Mr. Simsik greeted us at the airport and we had a training session with him the other day, very hands on like all of the PC staff)

We got 3 pages of acronyms and sometimes it feels like all we do is speak in them. It does make things simpler, that is, once you learn them.

Many a day I feel like I confuse more people here than explain anything.

Also the volunteers have other interesting terms for things.  These are taught along side with trainings to show the open-ness of the PC culture here. I was warned about getting sick. Even though I have had all of my inoculations back in the states there are different bacteria and microbes here that my body and gut are not used to.  Diarrhea is very common and so hence we end up talking about it with each other. We get a good dose of how to treat sickness, parasites, self-care and these various bouts of fun. In doing so, we have some “terms” for them as well.

Such as, gargoyling. Gargoyling is a PC term and when you are sick and have it coming out both ends simultaneously. It happens. We talk about real things that we should be prepared for, not to scare us but to inform and educate us. None of us want to go back to the states at this point and getting severely sick is never fun, but getting sent back home due to illness that is out of your control is even worse. So we try to prevent and learn how to best deal with things like this.

There are things here like creeping eruption (yes that’s what it’s called, click on it to see what exactly it is) that I don’t think we would encounter in the states but again we need to understand what it is, the symptoms and how to deal with it.

Strangely, before I left I caught a replay of Radiolab’s episode on Parasites and found it very interesting but find them not as scary as I might of if I was presented it differently. Either way no one looks forward to getting sick and I plan to stay as healthy as I can make myself.




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I’ve been here for a few months now and inchallah (thank god) have not had
to deal with more than a week of stomach issues due to drinking some water at
my volunteer visit. But now I can eat anything I want and look for calories
whenever I can. Like when at the center we get butter, real butter. I have
started to put butter in my coffee in the morning to add more fat to my diet.

During training my family has me eat 2 lunches and I’m always invited to eat 3 dinners if I’d
like to. Eating at any meal can be a handful of food at
each bowl, which is decent amount, before saying your full. And now at my permanent site I eat breakfast in my hut, then have 3-4 lunches with my family, my counterpart/neighbors, and another family that has adopted me, after I eat a dinner or 2 depending upon what is for dinner and where I happen to be when it’s dinner time. It is normal to be invited for food by simply walking by their compound.

Join the Conversation


  1. 1. Gargoyling – I know it's not funny, but the term made me laugh.

    2. Glad to hear how you are settling in. Hope you don't have many health issues… especially a creeping eruption. gross.

    3. I'd love to hear more about the types of food you are eating. You might have mentioned this before, but what is a typical breakfast, lunch, dinner…?

    4. Ah, yes, the world of acronyms. I know this too well… but I do work in the corporate world so it's inevitable.


  2. I am currently writing a bunch of food centered posts (so don't you worry, just trying to make it well rounded) among other now “normal” things in my life.

    So far no gargoyling (yes it's funny, even when your sick) creeping eruption, bott flies, mango flies or any other fun things. Just a little staph on my leg, which I have antibiotics for 🙂


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