OMG, what DAY IS IT?
Hi everyone. I feel stunned. We've been "disconnected" (read: no phone, no internet, etc.) for a week and I've just stumbled upon a WHOLE computer lab!! I'm not sure I should get used to such luxury...
In fact, I only today had access to snail mail stamps and am still trying to figure out how much postage, etc.
Wow. What can I say? It is REALLY different here. Mom, everyone is cold so they are coveting my lovely scarf, hats, handwarmers, socks, etc. (They are admiring your handiwork as well; lot's of knitters, crocheters on board.) PLEASE DON't SEND MORE. We are charged a fortune for incoming packages.
The hankies that you bestowed upon me (that I rolled my eyes at) are VERY HELPFUL!
It is cold here at night: around 35-40 degrees, which doesn't sound so bad, but there is no heat or insulation air in the buildings so the buildings get (and stay) bone chillingly cold. But it warms nicely in the day in the sun and I'm assured that the very hot summer is on the way.
I wish I had brought the skirt you had given me (the one I didn't want and didn't bring). It would have been helpful for meeting THE CHIEF! I must be wearing a skirt when I meet the chief of my village so I've been in a panic trying to find one. I bought one yesterday at the "strip mall" for 80 rand (around 12 dollars, I think). It is a beautiful chocolate brown, (yes, my color), velvety, long-flowing skirt w/ smatterings of black sequin-like decoration. Of course, my heart fell when I read the tag: made in China. Hopefully, I'll find an African-made garment at some point.
And the "mall" was more like a strip mall combined with a flea market: lots of "vendors" selling on the sidewalk, etc.
I will be working in a village and living with a host family. I will meet them, and go home with them on Saturday. We're not supposed to say exactly where we are, but I think it's ok to say I'm in Marapyane (north of Pretoria near the Limpopo border).
There are beautiful, beautiful birds here that no one seems to know the name of. When asked, a African gentleman replied: "We do not name our birds here." :-( Should have brought a field guide but they are very heavy, so perhaps this too, I can pick up at some point.
Am learning Setswana and feeling like I'm drowning in it. When I try to say "thank you" to the people, they giggle. When I try again, they giggle harder, so I quit trying. But am not giving up.
Please excuse my writing today. I'm fried (It's 5:30 pm here, we've been training all day) and am trying to compose quickly. Am not sure when they will boot me out.
They do garden here--yay! There is a geranium 3 feet high here on the compound. There is a garden but it is surrounded by razor wire 7 feet high. I'm not sure why the razor wire, but the grazing animals (cows, donkeys) roam freely looking for food. I'm sure fresh chard would be welcome for them.
Thanks D, for the updates. I'm glad to know Sparky is still full of antics and that the Bernheim Bunch went hiking. Tell Joe that although I missed him, I understand. Happy new grandchild!
What else? I've been vaccinated for: yellow fever, typhoid, hep B, and rabies. At least more rabies are to come (a series of 3 shots). I'm told that these diseases are not found in this country, but are found in bordering countries (Botswana, Namibia, etc.) and that the PC is overly cautious. I'm all about having the shots. We will not be near a malaria-ridden area, so won't be taking anti-malarials. Yay!
What else? Gosh, I can't believe I'm sitting at a computer. I didn't think I'd see one for awhile. I WILL have a cell phone by the end of September, so phone communication, as I know it, will be restored. Still don't know if I need to buy a computer/laptop, etc. If I have access at my school(s), I won't need to buy one.
Would love to hear from home if you can post. Please know I can't reply to you individually (for now) but will when I can. I love to hear news from home.
No one knows of Kentucky except through Kentucky Fried Chicken. Curses!
There are around 40 of us here. There are 6 married couples, which is much higher than the PC norm. We had seven married couples, but one dropped out in Washington. We also lost another gentleman and one woman never showed.
Many of you know I have special needs around food and eating. I will be fine, especially when I'm in my own site, but it is a meat-eating country that loves starch so it seems. I'm used to eating a plant-based diet (LOTS of vegetables) so I've learned to pass on the three kinds of starch to eat mostly veggies with a bit of meat. The starch that I can have is fine for me. I've taken to hoarding fruit in my room but need to quit: there is plenty of fruit and fruit juice.
So I'm fine, fine, fine. They keep us very busy with "school." I'm hoping to have a bit more time once we move from the dormitories and in with our host families, but we do have 6 more weeks of very intense training.
Hopefully, you'll hear much more from me in October.
S. Africa is hosting the world cup next year, so July will be a big party month and we're told we're likely to have most of the month off.
I'm outta here for now! Am thrilled to be posting! Huge hugs to everyone! k
disclaimer: Peace Corps is not responsible for anything I think, feel, misspell, etc. The embarrassment is all mine.