Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Ello People of America

I got to my permanent village last Thursday, almost a week ago. I like it so far. The village is really hilly, surrounded by beautiful mountains. When my supervisor was showing me around it seemed more like a hike than just walking through a village, but it’s cool. He told me they requested someone young because of all the hills. My house is on top of a hill near the back of the village, so I have a nice bird’s eye view of the area. To give you an idea of how steep it is, my supervisor’s car couldn’t make it all the way up the hill to get to my house, so we had to carry all of my stuff up, but it wasn’t too bad.

So I have my own three room house, it’s two bedrooms and a sitting room. I pretty much only use one of the rooms, but there are two extra beds in the other room for friends to use if they come visit, so that’s nice. There is no running water but there’s a spigot just outside the gate so I don’t have to go far for water. There are three other buildings on the grounds, one is a garage which is right next to my house, then there’s a building with two rooms where a tenant stays, Eugene. He’s a social worker, nice guy. Then there’s the main house where the kitchen is and a few more bedrooms. My host mom only stays here sometimes, mainly if everyone is gone for the night she’ll stay here so I won’t be alone. Her husband owns this house and a house down the hill which is where she stays most of the time. Right now her sister and niece are here for the week of school holidays. The niece, Ramoraswi, 6, seems to think I’m her new personal constant playmate, which is getting a little tiring, but she doesn’t live here all the time so it’ll be fine. She’s fun though.

There was a previous Peace Corps volunteer who lived here before me, same family, same house. Her name’s Leah and her two years ended in June. She left me a bunch of stuff in the room, like pots and pans, books, and school stuff which is pretty gnarly. It’s nice being the second one because the principals and the family have done it all before so they know what to expect. I get compared to her with pretty much everything I do, but I don’t mind. It’s funny, walking through the village people ask me where Leah is, or if I’m her sister. I guess they assume I know her or am related to her because we’re both white.

The weather so far is pretty nice. It’s been sunny mostly, but there’s always a nice breeze. One day it was cloudy and really windy, lovedddddddd it, felt like San Francisco… almost. But that night it was really loud in my room from the wind because the windows don’t close completely, but once I fell asleep I was fine of course, I can sleep through anything. A lot of PCV’s in my group complained a lot about roosters waking them up super early every morning; they’re everywhere and super loud, but they never woke me up.

So I’m pretty much just been hanging out this week, checking out the village, introducing myself to people, getting used to everything. I got here just as the schools went on their week break between quarters, so I haven’t been to my schools yet, but that’s ok. I like being able to just hang out for a while, although 6 year old Ramoraswi keeps me pretty busy if I let her, and she’s pretty persistent even when I try to go to my room for a while, it’s almost like babysitting all day for no money… But her mom makes me dinner sometimes so it’s ok.

Alright, that’s it for now, probably have some pictures for you soon.


Monday, September 20, 2010

What up??

So these past few weeks of training have been pretty crazy, lots of stuff going on, then nothing going on and we had a week to do some fun stuff before swearing in and leaving for permanent sites. We went to a wildlife reserve where we got to go on a safari. I saw some giraffes, zebras, kudu (which I didn’t know was an animal until then), impalas (didn't know that one either), warthogs, and a bunch of others. It was ga-narly. There was also a pool and a bar. It was nice to be able to hang out and have a day off like this.

So training is finally over, and I am now an official Peace Corps Volunteer! The Swearing In Ceremony was on Thursday, the 16th, then half the group left for their sites in Kwa Zulu Natal immediately after. My group got to hang out for a few extra days which was nice.

My family put on a little farewell lunch on Saturday for me and my language group. They gave me a bunch of presents which I wasn’t expecting. They gave me a South African broom, a mat for sitting outside, two small pots of brewing traditional beer, a plate from the kitchen, and fake Armani sunglasses. It was pretty gnarly. As a thank you for being awesome I gave my family some pictures from the two months that I printed out in Pretoria. I also blew one up of everyone and put it in a frame. They were stoked. Apparently I didn’t print out enough though because they have requested I send them more pictures when I get a chance. I gave the kids a ball, an activity book, crayons, and two puzzles. They were super stoked. I wish I could have gotten them more, they barely have any toys. Maybe I’ll send them something for Christmas or something. I just wanted to make sure I got them a nice ball though, because they only had a flat soccer ball which they would still play with. Karabo would sometimes use lemons to play with. We would throw or kick a lemon until it burst open. It was fun, but sticky.

It was sad saying bye to my family yesterday, Tshepang was crying, but I will definitely visit them as much as possible. Some people are talking about going back to their host families for Christmas, so I might do that.

So today my group of 7 left for Limpopo. We’re staying at a ridiculously awesome game reserve outside of Polokwane. It’s pretty gnarly, and apparently pretty close to my village, could be an awesome place for people visiting me to stay, if you’re not a PA. We met our supervisors today and had dinner with them. They are the principals of our schools. It was cool to talk to them and hear a little about my village and where I’ll be staying. Tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday we are doing a supervisor’s workshop, then we go to our sites on Thursday. It’s pretty exciting, can’t wait to get there!


Friday, September 10, 2010


What up?? Here are a few pictures from these past 7 weeks:

1. Me with Tshepang (10), Karabo (6) and Paballo (4).

2. Family picture, also includes my language teacher Kgabo (blue jacket on the left), and Mike and Dale from my language group. My "mom" has the red head wrap on (she doesn't live here full time, visits on some weekends though), the four women in the middle are my sisters, Boledi, Bunang, Lerato, and Mathage. The three older ones live here full time. Lerato, goes to college in Pretoria. My brother Elias in the yellow on the right. He doesn't live here either. And the rest are all their kids, Kgaugelo, Thabang, Tshepang, Karabo, and Paballo.

3. The house, it's pretty gnarly. There's a separate building with two rooms behind the main house where the two older boys stay, Thabang (18) and Kgaugelo (22).

Ok, that's all for now.