Three Critical Cautions for Newbie International Volunteers—Part III

The final post in the series by a Thirty-two-year veteran offering insights for the first overseas deployment.

Little girl in scrubs playing doctor with Teddy bear re Three Critical Cautions for Newbie International Volunteers—Part III

Courtesy of 123RF Stock Photo/Oksana Kuzmina

Excitement reigns as you work through the checklist for that first overseas assignment. You learned a few phrases in the tribal language, trying to absorb everything about the new culture found in the mission brochure. To prevent some incredibly stressful moments that first year, I’m sharing these three critical cautions for newbie international volunteers—Part III.

The final post in this series may prove the one you benefit from the most. I’ve found it essential in every country where I’ve served. Some months, the issues popped up on a daily basis; at other times, I’d be taken by surprise.

What’s a Christmas in the Jungle Look Like?

Trying to bring the traditional American celebration to the Third World can be an eye-opener.

Christmas decorations re What’s a Jungle Christmas Look Like?

As a young person spending my first Christmas in the jungle, I reckoned I could bring my American traditions to blend in with those of my new African friends. After all, everyone expressed a desire to go to the States. I wondered, what’s a Christmas in the jungle look like? Nothing could have prepared me for the shocking reality.

What’d a Fifties Thanksgiving Look Like?

An old-fashion Thanksgiving with grandparents demonstrates a fifties-style celebration

Kids today can’t imagine life without a microwave, instant mashed potatoes and packets of turkey dressing. It’s possible to purchase a fully-cooked turkey from the store and just reheat. If going the cook-it-yourself route today, most turkeys are sealed in a bag so the cook need not pull the turkey out to baste the bird. Drawing from childhood memories, I’ll answer the question: What’d a Fifties Thanksgiving Look Like?

Turkey re What’d a Fifties Thanksgiving Look Like?

Courtesy of 123RF Stock Photo/circleps

Some things never change

Even in the fifties, the day began with the beautiful Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade–in black and white until the mid-sixties. Later, a football game played on in the family room, while ladies washed up dishes before serving the dessert.

One Summer Day for African Kids

A photo-filled report of a routine day for kids at the Samaritan House Children’s Center

In 2007, the doors of the Samaritan House Children’s Center opened, changing the lives of dozens of underprivileged kids forever. These small gangs of preschoolers no longer roam the dirt streets in our African city, playing with detritus such as broken razor blades. For the past eight years, they and their older siblings have gone to school every day, ending with a hot meal. The account of this one summer day for African kids describes the daily routine for summer 2015.Dannie with kids re One Summer Day for African Kids

Opening Session

The younger kids arrived early to play with their friends. The teens are as adolescents around the world—sprinting to cross the threshold as the bell rings.

Four Countries with Unforgettable Pizza Memories

A career missionary reveals the other side of Foreign Service

Pizza re Four Countries with Unforgettable Pizza MemoriesSearching for the familiar when living far from home can uncover a world of gastronomic adventure. Wherever Americans and their cross-cultural friends gather for a celebratory meal, a steamy, cheese-laden pizza pie can’t be far away. The following are stories from just four countries with unforgettable pizza memories.